The National Safety Council issued a cautionary statement warning of an increased in deaths and serious injuries on U.S. roadways in 2015. The numbers are startling. As travel again becomes affordable, the NSC estimates that 2015 could be the deadliest travel year in the U.S. since 2007. That could make for a deadly Labor Day.
It’s been a deadly year on U.S. roadways. The National Safety Council released estimates putting traffic deaths at 14% higher during the first half of 2015 than the same time period in 2014. Serious injuries are estimated at 30% higher. Translated into human lives, these 2015 estimates equal roughly 19K deaths and over 2.2M serious injuries. This makes 2015 the deadliest driving year since 2007. It could also make for a deadly Labor Day.
It’s not just the number of accidents, deaths and serious injuries that are on the rise. The associated costs are also skyrocketing. The estimated cost for the first half of 2015 is $152B for property damage, serious injuries and deaths. This is 24% higher than 2014.
Deborah A.P. Hersman, the president and CEO of the NSC, said, “Follow the numbers: the trend we are seeing on our roadways is like a flashing red light – danger lies ahead. Be a defensive driver and make safe decisions behind the wheel. Your life really depends on it.” So do your passengers’ lives and those of other innocent motorists.
Several factors impact the rising death and injury statistics. Many believe that the improving economy and lower gas prices & unemployment rates are predictors of an increase in vehicle travel. Gas is roughly 30% cheaper than in 2014 and is projected to maintain stable pricing into the first part of 2016.
As more people can afford to hit the open road, travel farther than normal and take more vacations, there will obviously be more traffic. More traffic equals greater possibilities of accidents. In an effort to keep our roadways safe, the NSC has issued the following suggestions:
- Enforce a seat belt policy in your own vehicle. Everyone needs to buckle up for safety.
- Always have an alcohol- and drug-free designated driver if your trip involves intoxication.
- Travel when well rested. Don’t cut corners on sleep and take breaks to minimized fatigue.
- Stay off the phone. Cell phone use, even hands-free, contributes to distracted driving.
- Stay involved in your teenagers’ driving habits. The risk of accidents for teen drivers is three times as great as that for those with experience.
- Make sure you know your vehicle’s safety systems and use them. My Car Does What offers information on features such as blind spot warning, backup cameras and adaptive cruise control systems.