Despite the often troubling news about rampant distracted driving deaths and accidents along the roadways, new information seems to suggest that roads are safer today than they have been in years.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced their estimate of the number of fatalities that occurred due to an automobile accident in 2011. They say that 32,310 people died last year in a motor vehicle accident, which is still about 32,310 more than would be acceptable, but it does represent a 1.7% decrease from 2010. In fact, rates have never been this low. Since people began keeping records in 1921, this is the lowest number ever when taken as a percentage of miles driven.
So what’s the reason for the sharp decline? Experts point to improved safety equipment in automobiles, an increase in the number of people who utilize seat belts, and public safety campaigns designed to inform people about the dangers of drinking and driving. One other factor might be the economy. When there’s an economic downturn, people don’t drive as often as they normally would.
35.7 billion fewer miles were driven last year when compared with 2010, and 1.09 deaths occurred every 100 million miles. Perhaps most encouraging, these numbers have declined 26% from six years prior.
I’m glad as a car accident lawyer in San Diego to see these statistics get better with time, but there’s still work to be done. It’s my hope as a San Diego personal injury lawyer that we don’t lose sight of the fact that just one life lost is one life too many.