Over the past seven years, the number of people who died in motor vehicle accidents across the country has been declining. Unfortunately, that trend reversed in 2012, when the number of traffic fatalities year-over-year increased.
According to the National Safety Council, approximately 36,200 people died in auto accidents in 2012. In 2011, there were around 34,600 traffic fatalities – constituting a 5 percent increase from 2011 to 2012. In addition, the number of people who sustained personal injuries as a result of motor vehicle accidents rose 5 percent in 2012. The NSC reported that approximately 3.9 million people needed medical care after sustaining injuries in auto accidents during the year.
With a rise in the number of people injured and killed in motor vehicle accidents comes an increase in the expenses associated with such collisions. According to the NSC, the costs stemming from auto accidents also rose by 5 percent in 2012 from the year prior. The NSC reported that traffic accidents cost Americans $276.6 billion in 2012. The costs came from a variety of sources, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage, including repairs to vehicles
- Insurance costs
Why is the number of traffic fatalities increasing in the US?
One of the main factors researchers have pointed to in explaining the rise in traffic fatalities across the country is the strengthening economy. As the economy improved, more people took to the road. In fact, the number of miles driven in the United States has been increasing since December 2011, according to the NSC. When more people are on the road, the chance of an auto accident rises.
In addition, the economic improvement has led to people driving faster – as they no longer need to be as concerned about saving gas – according to a professor at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. The burgeoning economy has also led to a rise in the number of commercial motor vehicles being driven, which tend to be involved in some of the more serious accidents.
Some researchers at the NSC have also pointed to the weather conditions as a reason for the rise in fatalities on the road. Although many may assume the opposite, more accidents actually occur during mild winters, as many people avoid driving altogether when the conditions are especially dangerous.
Avoid fatal crashes in Oregon
The most recent statistics available from the Oregon Department of Transportation indicated there were over 44,000 motor vehicle accidents in the state in 2010. Of those, 317 people were killed in 292 collisions that year. Another 30,493 people sustained personal injuries in auto accidents in Oregon in 2010.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Oregon, consulting with a skilled personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.