According to the most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities hit a new high in the first few months of last year. The number of deaths started increasing when the Covid-19 pandemic began. Although fewer people were on the road, drivers engaged in dangerous behavior, leading to more accidents and fatalities.
Early Estimates of Roadway Deaths in the United States
The NHTSA’s early estimates of traffic fatalities in the first half of last year showed around 20,175 people died in traffic accidents. That represents approximately a 0.5% increase from the same period the year before.
Although traffic deaths are decreasing for the first time since 2020, the numbers remain uncomfortably high. Preliminary data from the Department of Transportation found the number of vehicle miles people traveled increased by 2.8% in the first half of last year. The fatality rate decreased to 1.27 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, a slight drop from the projected rate of 1.30 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
Factors Contributing to More Deadly Crashes
A survey found a worrying pattern during the pandemic. The people who drove more than usual in 2020 were likelier to exhibit reckless actions such as running red lights, drinking and driving, texting, and speeding.
Experts believe less congested roadways caused many drivers to travel faster. They also think inadequate policing contributed to the increase in deaths partially because of concerns over racial profiling and safety protocols regarding Covid.
Police officers didn’t want to pull people over and risk getting sick. A survey of over 1,000 police officers in 2021 showed nearly 60% were less likely to stop cars than before the start of the pandemic.
Although law enforcement has returned to normal, drivers might think they can continue to get away with risky behavior.
Solutions to the Traffic Fatality Problem
One expert says holding drivers responsible for breaking traffic laws is a simple solution to decrease the number of deaths on the country’s roadways. Law enforcement efforts should aim to inform drivers of a police presence to encourage them to slow down, put away their phones, and stop behaving carelessly.
Changes in the design of roads and vehicles might also minimize fatalities from car crashes. Since many roads allow drivers to exceed the speed limit, fixing the inherent design problem could prevent people from going faster than necessary.
Addressing the dangers can be as simple as adding speed bumps, narrowing existing roads, or installing automatic cameras to record people violating traffic laws.
The U.S. Transportation Secretary announced a program established by the Department of Transportation to make the roads safer and prevent deaths and injuries. The $5 billion program allows grants for projects to improve road designs or lower posted speed limits.
The National Roadway Safety Strategy includes initiatives such as:
• Complete Streets guidance issued by the Federal Highway Administration to encourage states to use the funding to develop complete streets
• Proposed upgrades to the New Car Assessment Program requested by the NHTSA for adding advanced driver assistance systems to vehicles
• $1 billion in funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the first year of the Safe Streets and Roads for All program
• Final rule by the NHTSA for trailers and semitrailers to include rear impact guards
Possible Compensation in a Car Accident
If you get hurt in a car crash in New York, you must file a claim with your insurance company first, even if someone else is responsible for causing your injury. Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage with a minimum limit of $50,000 is mandatory for all drivers. It pays multiple expenses regardless of fault, such as:
• Necessary and reasonable medical and rehab expenses
• Up to $25 in daily reimbursement of other necessary and reasonable costs, such as transportation to and from medical care or household cleaning you can’t perform yourself for up to one year after the collision
• 80% of lost income with a maximum limit of $2,000 monthly for up to three years after the accident date
You can hold the negligent driver liable only after you exhaust your PIP limit and meet the serious injury requirement. That means you have an injury that results in:
• Permanent loss of use of a body organ, system, member, or function;
• A fracture;
• A non-permanent injury or impairment preventing you from completing your customary and usual daily activities for 90 days or longer during the 180 days after sustaining the impairment or injury;
• Loss of a fetus;
• A significant limitation of the use of a body function or system;
• Permanent limitation of use of a body member or organ; or
• Significant disfigurement.
You can file a claim with the negligent motorist’s liability insurance company or sue for compensation for your injury. The money you receive might cover your:
• Emergency room visits, rehabilitative services, and other medical expenses
• Emotional distress
• Loss of enjoyment of life
• Lost income, past and future
• Pain and suffering
• Property damage
• Scarring or permanent loss of limb
Deadline to File a Lawsuit After a Car Crash in New York
If you want to file a lawsuit against another party after a car accident, you must comply with a strict deadline. The statute of limitations gives a three-year timeframe to file suit. That means you must initiate your lawsuit within three years of the crash date. Missing the deadline could prohibit you from seeking compensation.
Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Us Now
Finz & Finz, P.C. understands the challenges of dealing with an injury after a car accident. Seeking treatment and preparing a case against the at-fault driver can be stressful, especially if you handle it alone. You don’t have to go through this experience without a dedicated team by your side.
Our highly experienced car accident attorneys know how to hold people accountable for the harm they cause. We will pursue fair compensation on your behalf.
If you sustained injuries in a car crash someone else caused, call us at 855-TOP-FIRM for a free consultation to get started.