The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released statistics from January to March of 2012 that reveal a significant increase in traffic fatalities compared to 2011. They estimate that 7,630 people died in car accidents in the first three months of 2012 – a 13.5 percent increase from the same periods in 2011.
Last year marked a 60 year low for traffic fatalities. This year could be the first increase since 2006.
Factors Contributing to More Fatal Car Accidents
Representatives from NHTSA state that is too soon to determine why the fatalities have increased so substantially. They opine, however, that the mild winter in 2012 may be a contributing factor.
Generally, there are fewer people on the roads in the early months of the year because weather makes travel difficult. This results in the first quarter of the year usually showing lower car accident fatality rates than the other three quarters. The theory is that the warm start to 2012 likely led to more people on the roads and, thus, more accidents.
But we cannot blame the weather for accident fatalities. Fatalities are caused by distracted driving, driving while under the influence, speeding and other negligent driving, not because it is unseasonably warm outside.
Those that have lost a loved one to another driver’s negligence may be able to recover damages through a wrongful death suit. No amount of money will bring back a loved one, but it can compensate for medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of companionship and the loss of benefits and future earnings of the decedent.
Source: CNN Travel, “U.S. Traffic Fatalities Soar 13.5 Percent in First Quarter of 2012,” Jim Barnett, July 23, 2012.
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