More than halfway through 2018, safety officials are starting to analyze information and research when it comes to auto accidents and fatalities for this year. While there is some good news, we still have a long way to go to making our nation’s roads safe.
Fatal Crashes Trend Downward
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the first six months of 2018 showed a slight decrease in traffic deaths due to crashes; a 0.5 percent decrease compared with the same time last year. When it comes to the human toll though, that translates into the deaths of 18,720 people from January to June. In addition, another 2.1 million people were injured in car accidents.
When it comes to our state, Colorado has seen nearly 400 traffic fatalities to date. Reviewing an interactive NSC map comparing traffic data for the first six months of 2018 to 2017, the map shows that Colorado experienced a 5 percent increase in auto accident fatalities this year compared to last year.
As an NSC statistician noted in a news release, “We cannot accept more than 18,700 deaths as the price of mobility. We hope these numbers remind drivers to slow down, buckle up, pay attention and drive defensively so we can get on the road to zero deaths.”
Holiday Weekends Increase Traffic Risks
When it comes to driving and fatal car crashes, Labor Day weekend, which ends Monday night, is among the top three most deadly times to be on our nation’s roads. When you look at a full year, the deadliest time is Memorial Day weekend, followed by Fourth of July and then Labor Day.
Though hoping their estimates do not come to fruition, the NSC expects 420 people will be killed over the holiday weekend due to accidents. Officials also estimate that more than 47,000 people will sustain injuries in car crashes. One reason for the high estimate is that people tend to drive on this holiday rather than take another mode of transportation, so that puts more vehicles on the road.
When it comes to the top reasons for crashes involving fatalities, a driver’s education company noted in its research that the top four causes for fatal accidents are:
- Impaired driving
- Distracted driving
- Inclement weather causing dangerous road conditions.
Focusing on the top two reasons for crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highlights the fact that every day 29 people die in crashes involving an impaired driver. Speeding causes another 27 fatalities, on average, every day.
When it comes to who is more likely to be involved in a fatal accident involving speeding or the use of alcohol or drugs, hands down, male drivers are more often behind the wheel in these types of fatal crashes. In 2016, NHTSA research showed that male drivers between the age of 15-24 are most at risk due to unsafe behavior while driving. Sixty-two percent of fatal accidents due to speeding occurred with this age group. When it comes to alcohol use, males between the ages of 21-44 are most at risk to be involved in a fatal crash.
Female drivers are not ignored, but researchers note that the percentage of female drivers involved in fatal crashes due to speeding or impaired driving is lower than their male counterparts, and in some instances, much lower.
Regardless of who is driving, safety officials continue to be frustrated because they know auto accidents involving impaired driving or speeding are totally avoidable. If you have been drinking, call for a ride, so you are not driving impaired. And, how difficult is it to abide by a speed limit? It’s not. Drivers need to decide to go the speed limit, as exceeding it can lead to deadly consequences. The message for this holiday weekend is to take extra precautions to make sure you and those in your vehicle stay as safe as possible.