If you track auto accident fatalities over the last sixty years or so, you're going to see a general decline. Modern culture is better adapted to cars than mid-20th Century culture was, we've had more time to learn our way around cars, and cars themselves are safer, so it stands to reason that car fatalities should be on the decline.
However, there are some areas where we've actually seen spikes and slow climbs in auto accident fatalities. If you look at the data for 2016, you'll see a nineteen percent increase in deaths of teenagers in car crashes for the first half of the year from 2015. The spike isn't across the board, as seventeen states saw declines and some saw no change at all, but it's cause enough for concern.
The general trend with fatalities in car crashes is for the better, if you look at the broader picture over the decades, but we do see spikes now and then and experiencing the death of a loved one in an auto accident doesn't hurt any less just because the trend is moving in a positive direction.
A Forbes article points out another interesting statistic: we see higher car accident fatality rates on tax day.
The number only spikes by about thirteen fatalities every year, but it's enough to cause concern. The increased risk varies from region to region, between genders and so on, with the typical victim of this spike being a young male player in a rural area, which is interesting when you consider that car crash fatalities are less common in rural areas than they are in more densely populated locations. It's hard to pinpoint the exact cause, but one theory has it that people are generally going to drink more to ease off the stress of dealing with taxes, and of course, that will increase the chances of fatal car crashes taking place.
2014 also saw a modest, but notable overall spike in fatal accidents. The spike amounted to an increase of about five percent, which set 2012 apart from most previous years. 2014 saw 36,000 deaths in auto accidents, where 2013 saw only 34,600. The difference is fewer than 1,500 deaths, but in contrast to year after year of declines, one has to wonder where the blame lies.
Interestingly, even with a general trend towards fewer fatalities, car accidents remain the number one killer of people between the ages of 5 and 34.
We can blame cell phones if we like or we can ask why there isn't greater effort on the part of local governments to reduce fatalities, but the bottom line is that the only thing that we can do as individuals is attempt to be better drivers, to be more prepared. Taking defensive driving courses and knowing the number of a good attorney can make a big difference.
We often forget just how dangerous the roads can be. Between drunk drivers, heavy traffic and dangerous conditions, we're taking our lives in our own hands every time we get behind the wheel, and it's very easy to get complacent. Nothing can guarantee our safety, but taking the time to become a better driver can help.