The latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals a promising decline in traffic fatalities for the fifth consecutive quarter. During the first half of 2023, 19,515 car accident deaths happened across the United States.
This figure represents a decrease of 3.3% compared to the 20,190 fatalities recorded during the first half of 2022. The preliminary data also indicates an increase in total miles driven during the first half of 2023.
The reduction in traffic fatalities occurred in 29 states. However, 21 states, along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, have experienced increases in fatalities. Fortunately, Florida was among the states with reduced traffic fatalities. There were 952 road deaths in Florida during the first half of 2023, a 3.7% reduction from the 989 deaths during the same period in 2022. However, more work still needs to be done to prevent serious and fatal injuries sustained in car accidents.
How are federal officials responding to traffic fatalities?
The recent decline in traffic fatalities is encouraging. However, Jonathan Adkins, CEO of the Governors Highway Safety Association, cautions against complacency. In a statement, he emphasized that the 19,515 roadway deaths in the first half of 2023 still exceed the 17,025 fatalities recorded during the same period in 2019.
To address traffic safety, the NHTSA has initiated a series of impactful measures:
- New vehicle technologies: The NHTSA is pursuing regulations that mandate life-saving vehicle technologies. These regulations will require automatic emergency braking systems in passenger cars, light trucks, and heavy vehicles. There will also be a focus on pedestrian protection and seat belt warning systems.
- Infrastructure funding: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has allocated increased funding to state highway safety offices. This financial support aims to bolster programs targeting risky driving behaviors.
- Data collection: A Standing General Order has been implemented to collect more data about collisions involving automated driving systems and advanced driver assistance systems.
- Call to action campaign: This campaign marks the next phase of the National Roadway Safety Strategy. It embraces the Vision Zero or Safe System approach.
The initiative's goal is to end all road deaths and serious injuries. It seeks to put in place many layers of protection. This will help account for human error and improve various aspects of road safety.
Common causes of traffic fatalities
Most fatal crashes are the result of:
- Impaired driving: Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs a driver's coordination, reaction time, and judgment. Impaired driving is a leading cause of fatal crashes, which resulted in 13,384 deaths in 2021.
- Speeding: Excessive speed contributes to a large number of traffic deaths, causing 12,330 fatalities in 2021.
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving remains a common and dangerous behavior on the road. It includes texting, talking on the phone, using navigation systems, and even eating while driving. It resulted in 3,522 deaths in 2021.
- Drowsy driving: Fatigue impairs a driver's ability to react quickly to obstacles and make smart decisions on the road. Long hours on the road, insufficient sleep, and sleep disorders contribute to drowsy driving. This resulted in 684 traffic fatalities in 2021.
Failure to wear a seatbelt increases the likelihood of a crash being deadly. Additionally, poor roadway infrastructure contributes to the high number of motorist, pedestrian, and bicyclist deaths. This includes the absence of guardrails, crosswalks, signs, and traffic signals.
What if I lost a loved one in a fatal crash?
You may be dealing with mental and emotional distress if you lost a loved one in a crash caused by someone else's negligence. Pursuing a legal claim may be the last thing on your mind. However, you have the right to pursue damages on behalf of your loved one through a wrongful death claim. These damages include:
- Medical expenses related to the deceased's injury before their death.
- Funeral and burial costs.
- Pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
- Lost future earnings.
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and support.
Contact a Tampa car accident lawyer to review your potential legal options
To pursue a wrongful death claim in Florida, you must file within two years from the date of your loved one's death. But it's best to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible, as evidence can disappear, and the memories of witnesses can fade.
At Armando Personal Injury Law, we understand the urgency and sensitivity of these matters. Our dedicated legal team is here to support you through every step of the process, from collecting evidence to advocating for your rights in court or settlement negotiations.
If you've lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence, don't delay. Contact us today to discuss your case and explore your potential legal options. Our office is in Tampa, and we proudly serve clients throughout Hillsborough County.