Saturday, December 2, 2023

Traffic Deaths Climb by Largest Increase in Decades


The Southlake Police Department is joining the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in issuing a call to action to reduce the number of traffic deaths on our roads and highways.

Newly released statistics from the NTHSA show 35,092 people lost their lives in auto accidents nationwide in 2015. The numbers are sobering and reflect a 7.2 percent increase over 2014. The last time there was such a large single-year increase was back in 1966, when Lyndon Johnson was president.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that nearly 100 people die from vehicle-related accidents every day despite decades of safety improvements, such as air bags and electronic stability control. So what is going on and why are fatality auto accidents on the rise?

According to NHTSA, job growth and low fuel prices were two factors that led to increased driving, including increased leisure driving and teen driving. More cars on the roads can contribute to higher fatality rates. In 2015, vehicle travel increased 3.5% over 2014, the largest increase in nearly 25 years.

Other leading causes include the actions of drivers and occupants in vehicles.

  • Almost half of the deaths occurred when passengers were not wearing seat belts.
  • About 30 percent of fatalities involved a drunk driver or speeding.
  • Distracted driving was a factor in about 10 percent of auto deaths.

What can you do to help reduce deadly vehicle accidents? Join the call to action and remind drivers and passengers to always buckle up, reduce speed, and never drive impaired. And finally, when you’re operating a motor vehicle, make THAT your number one priority – never participate in distracted driving. Distracted driving includes any activity that takes a driver’s eyes and attention off of the road, such as: talking on a cell phone, texting, grooming/putting on makeup, and changing radio stations.

It’s especially important to have a serious talk with your teen drivers about distracted driving. Teens have a 400 percent higher chance of being in a car crash when texting and driving. Here are some more startling statistics:

  • 94 percent of teenagers understand the consequences of texting and driving but 35 percent admitted that they do it anyway.
  • Every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting while driving.
  • Of all the teenagers involved in fatal accidents every year, 21% were using a cell phone at the time of the accident.
  • Teen drivers report responding to at least one text every time they drive.

Set a good example for your teen drivers and don’t text and drive. And, if you are ever a passenger in a vehicle where the driver starts to text and drive, tell them it can wait and ask them to put the phone down for the safety of everyone in the vehicle.

Let’s all work together to make our roads and our community safer.