Car accident fatalities taking place during January – March of 2012 may have spiked compared to fatality rates in 2010 (and early 2011 data), according to a statistical projections released by the US Department of transportation. For the first three months of the year, about 7,630 people were reportedly killed in automobile accidents — a year earlier, the number of Americans killed at that point was 6,720. This marks a 13.5 percent increase in just one year.
These projections are particularly disheartening considering 2010/2011 saw a continued decrease in car accident fatality rates, to the point that 2010 had the fewest deaths related to car accidents in recorded history. After a steady decline since 2005, the streak may be over: The Department of Transportation posits that, if their projections hold true, 2012 will see the biggest year-to-year quarterly increase in traffic deaths since 1975.
We will have a better understanding of the increase in death rates by the end of fall, when the accident reports for 2011 are released. Suffice it to say, 2012 will likely mark the first increase in accident deaths in nearly seven years.
What to do with this information?
Projections like these can be used to inform the way we drive. If accidents are on the rise, practice caution during your daily commute. According to the National Safety Council, automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for individuals aged 2 to 39, and 50 to 72. This represents a large portion of our country. Stay safe — employ defensive driving techniques.
Defensive driving means you are aware of the danger posed by others on the road. Accordingly, you exercise caution while driving. The following are some defensive driving tips:
Driver Distraction. Increase your awareness of others actions by not using a cell phone or other electronic device while driving. Making phone calls, texting, checking email or voicemail, or surfing the web will distract you, if only for a moment. Remember that distracted driving is a growing problem — expect the other drivers on the road to be somewhat distracted.
Create Distance. If a car ahead of you is riding the line, braking suddenly, or weaving around the lane, create some space. This person could be impaired or distracted — either way, don’t drive too closely to such a vehicle.
Avoid the “Merge Race.” Sometimes it is tempting to speed up in order to beat another car to a merge. Incautious lane changes often lead to auto accidents. If someone else wants to merge badly enough that they drive carelessly, let them have it. It isn’t worth an accident.
The Carpey Law website offers much more on the subject of safe driving. See our related articles to acquire more stats, tips, and legal advice related to car accidents in Pennsylvania.