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On Motor Vehicle Accident Fatalities and Their Sudden Rise

Goldstein Heslop Steele Clapper Oswalt & Smith Dec. 10, 2021

In our last post, we talked about reckless driving. This dangerous behavior can take many different forms, from speeding out on the road to failing to obey street and traffic signs. When reckless drivers are out on the road, the chance of a motor vehicle accident greatly increases.

We’re discussing all of this again because the data on fatal motor vehicles accidents in the United States paints a scary picture for the coming years. For most of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and even 1990s, the number of people that died every year in the U.S. due to a motor vehicle accident routinely hovered in the 40,000s. There were even numerous years with more than 50,000 fatalities related to motor vehicle accidents.

Since 2008 though, the numbers have dramatically dropped. From 2007 to 2008, there was an 11 percent drop in the number of deaths related to motor vehicle accidents (41,259 deaths to 37,423 deaths). And from there, the numbers kept going down, culminating in a modern-day low of 32,479 deaths in 2011.

But in 2015 and 2016, something changed. The years of low 30,000s in motor accident-related deaths suddenly disappeared. 35,485 people died in 2015 (an increase of 10.5 percent over 2014) and in 2016 there were 37,461 deaths related to car accidents (an increase of 5.6 percent over 2015).

Distracted driving and reckless driving certainly are two major factors contributing to this new rise in motor accident fatalities.

Source: Wikipedia, “Motor vehicle fatality rate in U.S. by year,” Accessed April 2, 2018