For years, roads have been getting safer. Car accidents are still very common in the United States, due in part to the number of drivers on the roads and in part to an intense dependence on automobiles. But if you compare the statistics from the 1970s to those from the early 2000s, it is clear that the roads have become safer overall.
Unfortunately, in the last three years, this trend has been reversed. The numbers at the beginning of 2022 showed a higher fatal accident rate than was seen in 2021. But that rate was already 10% higher than the numbers from 2020, which were 7% higher than the totals from 2019. In other words, there has been a constant rate of increase in re: number of annual road fatalities in the U.S., leading many people to wonder what has changed.
One thing that has contributed to this trend is that the roads were a bit emptier over the last few years, especially in 2020. As driving rates decreased, incidents of speeding and other aggressive behaviors increased. This is part of the reason why the roads became more dangerous even though there were fewer people on them. Higher speeds almost always lead to higher odds of fatal accidents or serious injuries.
Additionally, people have simply been making more driving mistakes. For example, some reports found that drivers were more likely to run red lights, read text messages, neglect their seatbelts, drive after they had been drinking or drive aggressively. All of these are poor decisions that can lead to accidents. With drivers making them with a higher degree of frequency, additional serious crashes are simply inevitable.
Will it change back?
It will be very interesting to watch the statistics over the next few years. Will they begin to decline again? There was some thought that 2020 itself could have been considered a blip, but the surrounding evidence shows that it was more than that. Only in the next few years will we see if the roads begin to get safer again or if this trend continues.
Those who have been injured or lost loved ones due to the negligence of other drivers may benefit from researching how to seek financial compensation in the wake of crashes caused by aggressive and other negligent drivers. Ideally, crashes won’t happen in the first place but, as the evidence clearly indicates, this isn’t always the case.