One would like to believe that with time, innovation and regulations, the roads would be getting safer. Unfortunately, this is the current situation in the United States. While the rate of fatalities on the roadways in Washington and other states across the experienced a trend in decreased fatal automobile accidents, the last decade has experienced an increase.
Fatal roadway accident rate
From 1980 until 2010, the United States experienced a decline in fatal automobile accidents. Over these three decades, the number of fatal roadway accidents dropped from over 50,000 to around 32,000. The magnitude of this decrease is not fully understood without also accounting for the simultaneous increase in the U.S. population. As such, the rate dropped from 3.5 per 100 million miles driven in 1980 to roughly 1.1 per million miles driven in 2010.
This reduction is owed to various safety measures taken on the roadways. This includes the lowering of the speed limit to 55 mph, raising the drinking age to 21, passing mandates for better safety equipment in motor vehicles and restrictions on new teenage drivers.
Increase in fatal accidents
Despite there being three decades of a visible decrease in fatal motor vehicle accidents, the past decade has experienced an increase in fatalities. In 2020, fatal roadway accidents increased in both numbers and in the rate. It went from 1.1 per million miles in 2010 to 1.4 per million miles in 2020. While it is unclear the exact cause for this increase, experts have made speculations. The reduction of vehicles on the roadways due to the increase in remote work has caused more motorists to travel faster and unsafely. Negligence is often cause for car accidents.
As a means to address this increase in fatal accidents, developing a safe system through the Department of Transportation is a promising approach. There are five elements it addresses, which includes safer people, safer roads, safer vehicles, safer speeds and post-crash care.
Negligence and recklessness on the roadways will always be dangerous. This conduct is often the cause of a car accident. While some accidents are simply that, unavoidable accidents, the unfortunate reality is that many are caused by negligent drivers. Thus, victims of an automobile collision should take the time to understand cause and liability following an accident. This could help with the investigation while also assisting with a civil action, such as a personal injury claim. Such an action could result in compensation being awarded for injuries, losses and damages.