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Traffic Deaths Reach Highest in 50 Years

Fatalities caused by traffic collisions reached numbers not seen since 1966, sparking concerns by road safety advocates.

Traffic-related fatalities are at the highest rates they have been in the last half-century. Preliminary data suggests that, in 2015, there were 38,300 deaths connected to traffic accidents. This is eight percent higher than the previous year, and the highest year-over-year spike in traffic fatalities since 1966.

These statistics are national, factoring in traffic fatality data from all 50 states. Texas led the way, contributing 3,490 traffic fatalities to the overall tally. However, the Lone Star State maintained about the same traffic fatality rate as the year before, only increasing one percent.

California’s population is 12 million people more than that of Texas, and yet its accident fatality rate was lower than Texas’ by 240. Houston in particular had more roadway deaths than New York, which is four times larger than Houston is. All of this data suggests that Texas’ traffic fatality rate is exceedingly high with no signs of slowing down.

The city of Houston in particular has been pushing for traffic safety improvements since it has seen a spike in new jobs and residents of late. More people and more jobs mean more people on the road, undoubtedly a large contributing factor to the amount of traffic fatalities in this metro.

Another factor that could be contributing to the spike in traffic fatalities is cheaper gas prices, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Driving is more affordable and more necessary than every in cities like Houston, but that still doesn’t completely explain away the spike in traffic fatalities on rural roads, which makes up about half the spike we saw in 2015.

Rural roads are often under-lit (or not lit at all), winding, and poorly maintained. Combine that with any other factor, even the slightest bit of drowsiness, and you have a recipe for disaster.

The National Transportation Safety Board remains hopeful that these accidents will start to go down, if anything because of better technology in vehicles. More and more new cars are being manufactured with systems like adaptive cruise control and lane departure warnings.

Despite our best efforts, accidents still happen. If you or someone you love was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal car crash, we invite you to contact Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC today for a free review of your case.

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