If you've ever been in a car accident, you know there are several factors that may increase the possibility of fatality. Though most people try to ensure that they drive in a way that is safe, accidents still occur. Hopefully, when they do, the damage sustained will be as minimal as possible.
A recent study revealed some troubling news regarding deaths from car crashes. It found that while fatal traffic accidents have decreased across the United States, the state of Illinois actually showed an increase in these types of auto accidents. The researchers have a few ideas of why that may have happened, and their findings show that everyone can take steps to be a better driver.
The National Safety Council conducted the study. The safety advocacy organization examined the number of deaths in the first six months of 2017, comparing that with data from the same time frame in 2016. They discovered that, in Illinois, the rate of fatal car accidents rose by four percent. Additionally, when looking at the same period in 2015, that rate is 17 percent higher.
Contrasting that with national statistics, the rate of fatal car accidents across the US only rose by 8 percent when comparing the first half of 2015 to 2017. When comparing 2016 and 2017, there was actually a reduction of fatal car crashes by one percent nationally.
Why is Illinois different?
Experts aren't sure why the Prairie State differs from trends across the country. One expert from the NSC speculates that there may be more than one reason. First, consider the fact that Illinois does not require motorcyclists to wear helmets when they ride. Another possibility is that fatal traffic incidents have risen due to the recent increase in highway speed limits from 65 miles per hour to 70 mph. The NSC representative acknowledged that higher speeds tend to translate to more serious car accidents.
Other possibilities that may have caused a rise in these types of fatal incidents could be due to more vehicles on roadways, speeding, intoxicated driving, distracted driving or a combination of several of these factors. The NSC also says the number of miles traveled nationwide by vehicles did not increase as much in 2017 as it has in previous years.
What can I do?
Experts warn that the second half of the year typically sees a rise in the number of fatal car accidents when compared to the first half. The NSC also cautions that fatalities have risen among other, more vulnerable, roadway occupants such as pedestrians or cyclists. Researchers think that distracted driving may be to blame for this increase.
Though these numbers are troubling, you can protect yourself by utilizing safe driving practices. Of course, car accidents will still happen, as long as there are vehicles on the road. Should you or a loved one be unlucky enough to be harmed by one, know that your legal rights matter and there are ways for you to seek justice.