NHTSA Reports Decrease in Traffic Fatalities for First Half of 2023
The latest data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows a decline in traffic fatalities for the fifth consecutive quarter. During the first half of 2023, the nation saw 19,515 fatalities caused by car accidents. This marks a 3.3% reduction when compared to the 20,190 fatalities reported during the same period in 2022.
While this is a step in the right direction, the reduced road deaths weren't uniform across all states. For example, there was an increase in traffic fatalities in 21 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. The remaining 29 states saw a decrease. Nebraska saw a 21.6% decrease in roadway deaths, from 120 fatalities in 2022 to 94 in 2023.
More work still must be done
The 3.3% reduction in roadway deaths in 2023 is promising, but it's important not to be complacent. The 19,515 traffic fatalities in 2023 are still significantly higher than the 17,025 fatalities during the same period in 2019. In response to the high number of traffic fatalities, the NHTSA is taking proactive measures to improve safety, including:
- Rules that will mandate life-saving vehicle technologies. These technologies include automatic emergency braking systems in passenger cars, light trucks, and heavy vehicles.
- The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which aims to strengthen programs targeting risky driving behaviors.
- A Standing General Order to collect comprehensive collision data involving automated driving systems and advanced driver assistance systems.
- A dynamic "Call to Action" campaign, representing the next phase of the National Roadway Safety Strategy. This initiative embraces the Vision Zero approach, with the goal of eliminating all roadway deaths and serious injuries.
Common causes of traffic fatalities
It's important to recognize that common causes of traffic fatalities still persist. These include:
- Impaired driving: Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly impairs a driver's ability to react to emergency situations. Impaired driving caused over 13,000 roadway deaths in 2021.
- Speeding: Higher speeds often result in more devastating and fatal crashes. The NHTSA reported over 12,000 fatalities in 2021 linked to speeding.
- Distracted driving: Manual, visual, and cognitive distractions pose a significant danger. The NHTSA reported that over 3,500 traffic fatalities in 2021 were the result of distracted driving.
- Drowsy driving: Drowsy drivers often have difficulty concentrating on the road. Plus, they often cause serious collisions when they fall asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving killed over 680 people in 2021.
Some contributory factors further exacerbate the issue. Many people who have died in car accidents weren't wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Poorly designed or neglected infrastructure can also make conditions unsafe for drivers and pedestrians. This includes inadequate road design, a lack of proper signage, poorly maintained roads, and missing crosswalks.
Crash victims should know their potential legal options
If you were injured or a loved one died in an accident involving a reckless or negligent driver, it's normal to feel overwhelmed. While you're dealing with the aftermath of the crash, pursuing legal action against the at-fault driver may not be the first thing on your mind. However, it's important to understand your rights and options.
At Ausman Law Firm P.C., L.L.O., our Omaha car accident lawyers are here to help crash victims navigate the legal process and pursue the compensation they deserve. Our attorneys understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll such accidents can take on victims and their families.
That's why we are dedicated to providing personalized and compassionate legal representation to those who have suffered due to the negligence of others on the road. To learn more about how we can help you, call or contact us online and set up your free legal consultation.