Connecticut motorists may have heard that fatal car accidents in the U.S. reached a nine-year high in 2016 despite the adoption of several safety features. It was determined that the increase in the number of fatal accidents were caused by excessive speeding, the failure to use seat belts and the increase in the number of motorcycle deaths.
In 2016, more than 37,400 people were killed in car accidents. This number was up 5.6 percent from the previous year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car accident fatalities had been on a downward trend from 2007 to 2014. In 2014, the number of car accident deaths hit an all-time low of about 32,700. On a more positive note, the number of estimated distracted driving deaths fell by 2.2 percent in 2016. In previous years, distracted driving had been increasing.
The trends show why automakers and the federal government are making the push to bring self-driving vehicles to U.S. roads. In the past several years, automakers have focused on adding safety features to new vehicles. For example, rear-view cameras, emergency braking and lane departure warnings can help prevent car accidents. However, some features that have been blamed for increasing driver distraction are also becoming more common. For example, touchscreens that can be used while the vehicles are in motion could increase driver distraction.
When excessive speed, driver distraction or driver fatigue results in a car accident, those who are involved are at risk for suffering catastrophic injuries that could even become life-threatening. If another driver was determined to be liable for the crash due to being distracted, driving unsafely or fatigued, other individuals who suffered injuries may be eligible file a personal injury claim against the liable driver. A car accident attorney could help gather the evidence that proves liability and shows the full extent of the damages sustained by a person injured in the crash.