Will 2016 Be a Record Year for Motor Vehicle Fatalities?

Will 2016 Be a Record Year for Motor Vehicle Fatalities?

Are you planning to hit the road one last time before summer comes to an end? If so, we have some advice—BE CAREFUL!

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the number of motor vehicle deaths from January through June 2016 is 9% higher than during the first half of 2015. At this pace, the number of motor vehicle fatalities in 2016 could exceed 40,000, which would be the highest in nearly a decade.

Estimates for the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend are equally frightening. The NSC estimates 438 traffic fatalities, the most since 2008. The NSC also estimates 50,300 nonfatal medically consulted injuries, which are injuries serious enough that a medical professional was consulted.

According to the NSC:

  • The estimated annual population death rate is 12.9 deaths per 100,000, which is an 8% increase from 2015.
  • The estimated annual mileage death rate is 1.3 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, which is 8% increase from 2015.
  • The estimated cost of motor-vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage during the first half of 2016 was $205.5 billion.

States with the most traffic deaths:

  • Texas 1,824 (+11%)
  • California 1,702 (+9%)
  • Florida 1,590 (+10%)
  • Georgia 701 (+7%)
  • North Carolina 668 (+5%)

States with the largest percentage increase from 2015:

  • Vermont +63%
  • New Hampshire +61%
  • Connecticut +45%
  • New Mexico +43%
  • Idaho +37%

Why is 2016 on pace to be the deadliest year in nearly a decade? One reason could be lower gas prices. The NSC notes that gas prices during the first six months of 2016 were on average 16% lower than in 2015 and that this helped produce a 3.3% increase in cumulative vehicle mileage through May. Another reason could be that people continue to engage in risky driving behavior, like speeding, drunk driving, fatigued driving, distracted driving (including cell phone use) and aggressive driving.

Though some accidents just happen , most motor vehicle accidents can be avoided. In addition to avoiding risky driving behaviors, here are some tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that can decrease the chances of getting into an accident.

  • Plan trips ahead of time.
  • Wear your safety belt—and wear it correctly.
  • Drive at the speed limit. It’s unsafe to drive too fast or too slow.
  • Be alert! Pay attention to traffic at all times.
  • Keep enough distance between you and the car in front of you.
  • Be extra careful at intersections. Use turn signals and to look out for people and cars.
  • Check blind spots when changing lanes or backing up.
  • Most of the time, having the right auto insurance coverage is all you need to recover after an accident. That’s clearly not the case with fatalities. Everyone must do their part to make sure 2016 is not a record year for motor vehicle fatalities.
  • Please contact us if you have questions about your auto insurance or would like a quote.
  • To receive regular updates about developments which may affect your business, subscribe to Setnor Byer Insurance &Risk’s weekly risk management news brief.