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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed sobering statistics regarding an increase in road fatalities in 2022. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, there were 9,560 deaths caused by traffic accidents.
Some states experienced a much higher increase than others, while nineteen states, including California, actually saw a decline in road fatalities.
Although we were fortunate enough to see a 7.3% decline in fatalities in California, there are still plenty of dangerous drivers on the road. If you suffer from a car accident that leads to a personal injury, you need to file a claim and hold the responsible driver accountable.
Here’s what you need to know about the United States and California road fatality statistics, risk factors that contribute to road fatalities, and what you should do if you’re injured in a car accident.
United States Road Fatality Statistics 2022
Road fatalities in the United States had been on a somewhat steady decline from 2017 to 2019. In 2019, there were a total of 36,355 deaths caused by traffic accidents. That number greatly increased in 2020, which may seem peculiar since that was the year COVID-19 became a global pandemic, resulting in fewer drivers on the road. The second half of 2020 had a notable increase in road deaths, and at the end of the year, there were a total of 38,824 vehicle accident deaths, a 6.8% increase from the previous year.
Although there were fewer drivers on the road in 2020, those who did drive appeared to display more dangerous driving behaviors. The AAA Foundation of Traffic Safety discovered that those who drove during the pandemic had a higher likelihood of engaging in risky driving behaviors, including texting while driving, running red lights, changing lanes recklessly, driving without a seatbelt, speeding, and driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Tragically, road fatality statistics continued increasing in 2021 with 42,915 deaths, a 10.5% increase from 2020. Now in 2022, it seems like that trend will continue increasing. There were a total of 9,560 deaths in the first quarter of 2022, which is an increase of 7% compared to the first quarter of 2021.
According to a press release from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Biden-Harris administration are taking this marked increase incredibly seriously. They aim to institute new campaigns and strategies to reduce dangerous driving.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act combined with the National Roadway Safety Strategy aims to decrease fatalities while making highways safer for drivers. The NHTSA started a public education campaign as part of the National Roadway Safety Strategy called the Speeding Wrecks Lives. This campaign is all about educating the public about the serious dangers of speeding.
Additionally, the NHTSA re-introduced its annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Labor Day campaign, which educates the public about the risks and consequences of driving while under the influence.
California Road Fatality Statistics 2022
While many states had a dramatic increase in road fatalities — such as Delaware with a 163.2% increase and Connecticut with a 73.6% increase — some states decreased, including California. Our state had 1,018 road fatalities in the first quarter of 2021, but we only had 944 in the first quarter of 2022, a decrease of 7.3%.
Risk Factors of Road Fatalities
Although California has seen a decrease in road fatalities, our state isn’t exempt from the dangers of reckless driving and other contributing factors leading to road fatalities.
Some of the main causes of serious and fatal traffic accidents in California include:
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving is a serious issue across the country. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are around 2,800 people killed and 400,000 injured each year due to distracted driving. Some distractions include texting, music, food, in-car display screens, and passengers.
- Driving while under the influence: Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense, and can lead to devastating car accidents. Drunk driving accidents often involve repeat offenders. In fact, 77% of fatal drunk driving accidents involve a driver who was charged with drunk driving previously.
- Driving while fatigued: Although not as dangerous as driving while under the influence, driving while fatigued does similarly impair drivers. Driving while tired can hurt your judgment and slow your reaction time, which can lead to devastating wrecks.
- Negligent maintenance: If a car or truck is improperly maintained, it can cause or contribute to a fatal accident. For example, if a driver fails to fix their brakes and they later rear-end another driver as a result, their failure to maintain their vehicle caused the accident.
- Dangerous roads: Dangerous roads pose a threat to drivers, but it’s also a driver’s responsibility to navigate these roads with caution. If roads are slick or icy, drivers must take these dangerous conditions into account. Additionally, there may be road maintenance issues that contribute to a wreck. In these cases, local municipalities or the state government may be partially or fully liable if they failed to keep the roads safe.
What to Do If You’re Injured in a Car Accident
If you suffer from a personal injury in a car accident, it’s critical to take immediate action. When physically able, you need to collect evidence at the accident scene. You can take many pictures and videos of the wreck, and you can interview any eyewitnesses. Make sure to collect their names and contact information.
After leaving the scene, you need to seek immediate medical attention regardless of the severity of your injuries. This will help you recover compensation for any future medical bills caused by the accident because it draws a clear connection between the wreck and your injuries.
Finally, you need to contact a California car accident personal injury attorney to assist you with your claim. Without legal representation, you’ll have a much harder time recovering the money you deserve from the negligent driver. Ensure that you contact an attorney before communicating with the other driver’s insurance company. A skilled personal injury attorney will help you prove your claim and maximize the amount you’ll receive from the liable party or their insurance company.
For seasoned legal support you can count on in the San Francisco area, contact Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers at 877-380-8852, or you can schedule a free case evaluation here.