The number is a large and compelling one. According a recent study, 21,667 people in passenger motor vehicles were killed in accidents in 2016 in the United States. That's over 1,800 people per month and averages almost 60 people each and every day.
Think about it. On average, every day, at least 60 families are going to have their lives changed forever due to an car crash. This eye-opening number takes into consideration accidents involving all passenger vehicles, including cars, pickups, vans, and SUVs.
Use of seat belts can help, but it does not eliminate the problem. The latest study says that of the 21,667 people killed in passenger vehicles in 2016, 9,679 were discovered to have been restrained. In another 1,653 cases, use of restraints was not able to be determined. It was determined that 52% of these victims were not wearing any sort of safety restraint.
The study was further able to determine that seat belt use in that year increased 2% from the previous year, going from 84% to 86%. There was a disturbing anomaly in that number. Research indicates that of the fatalities in the age group of 21-14 years old, 63% of those killed on the nation's roadways were not using seatbelts. That ends up being the largest percentage of all of the age groups considered in the data. This is a tragic combination of young drivers who are more likely to be involved in an accident, and non-use of safety restraints in that group.
A look at the numbers historically can be a bit confusing. Take for example that in 2003, 40% of vehicle occupant fatalities were restrained. In 2016, 45% of vehicle occupant fatalities were restrained. On the surface one could determine that wearing safety belts is becoming less likely to save your life. The fact is the raw numbers suggest otherwise. In 2003, 12,967 people who were restrained still died in a passenger vehicle accident. In 2012, although that number jumped from 40% to 45%, the number who perished wearing seat belts dropped significantly to 9,679.
The bottom line is that seat belt use is increasing, and deaths to those who are using them are decreasing. To be fair however, the number of deaths on our nation's roadways to those unrestrained is also decreasing. In 2014, 16,764 unrestrained occupants were killed in accidents. In 2015 that number dropped to 10,335. Some of that would be credited to the fact that less drivers are unrestrained now than in 2014, and one could make the claim that passenger vehicles overall are safer.
The sad fact is that still, over 20,000 people each year are being killed on our nation's highways. There are multiple reasons for this huge number and it involves everything from distracted driving to alcohol use. The personal and financial impact of those deaths cannot be overstated.
If you have been involved in any kind of car accident, bus accident or truck accident, a Philadelphia car accident lawyer should be retained. Accidents involving personal injury are considered on a different level than those that involve just property damage. If you need legal advice and assistance, don't wait, we can help. We invite you to contact us.