Has it gotten riskier to be in a car lately? If you think that it seems like the roadway dangers are increasing, you’re not imagining things.
Way back in the late 1970s early 1980s, fatalities tied to car wrecks were at all-time highs. Slowly, however, new safety regulations came into play and cars started to have built-in safety features, like airbags, that made it easier for people to survive the average wreck a little more easily.
By 2010, fatalities had declined from more than 51,000 per year to less than 33,000, which is a remarkable difference. Given that vehicle and roadway designs have continued to improve and new developments in safety are constantly being added, you’d think that trend would continue – but it has not.
The fatality rate is rising, and getting worse
There’s been a distinctly upward rise in roadway fatalities since 2015, and the last few years have been particularly problematic. Current information indicates that crash deaths rose 7% between 2019 and 2020 and 10% between 2020 and 2021.
What gives? Why, with all the forward-looking innovations in modern automotive designs, it can’t be the vehicles – or can it? Here are some of the reasons that experts offer for the situation:
- Americans have a love affair with big vehicles, like SUVs and pickup trucks. Bigger vehicles are heavier, and heavier vehicles mean more force being used in a crash, and that always translates to more damage.
- The smartphone has become incredibly common. Before smartphones became widely affordable and wildly popular, drivers were somewhat less distracted on the road. The advent of the smartphone has frequently been tied to increases in distracted driving.
- Social changes encouraged risky driving behavior. Over the last few years, there have been times when the roads were pretty empty. That proved to be too much of a temptation for a lot of drivers, who decided to see just how fast they could go out there on the highways. Others have been caught street racing. Any high-speed activity can lead to deadly consequences.
Whatever the cause, the trend is leaving far too many families devastated over the loss of their loved ones. If your loved one was killed in a wreck or you were seriously injured, find out more about your legal options.