The news article below shows a shockingly high increase in the number of vehicle deaths this year, and it is only July. Vehicle accidents include those involving automobiles, large trucks or tractor trailers, and motorcycles. While the “experts” may speculate on the potential explanations for this increase in accidents and deaths, we already know that drivers are at risk everytime they are behind the wheel. With more distractions than ever, drivers can easily lose their focus on the road and end up crossing the center line. In the past, it was just stereos and talking with passengers that resulted in accidents. Today, drivers have sophisticated “computers” in their cars, cell phones, texting issues, GPS navigation, and increased traffic on the road to manage. And, of course, there is always the danger of drinking and driving. Given the inherent risks associated with driving, what can you do to protect yourself and your family? Here’s what I taught my children.  Always engage and fully utilize every safety system in your vehicle. Regularly maintain your car. Make certain all safety devices are working. Always be on the defensive. Watch for other cars and motorcycles. Always assume the worst. Always have an “escape plan.” Do not drink and then drive. Do not get into a car where the driver has been drinking. And lastly, ALWAYS…ALWAYS wear your safety belt.

The trial attorneys at Reeves, Aiken & Hightower LLP want everyone to be aware and vigilant when it comes to driving safety. We want what you want – to get home safe and sound. If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in a vehicle accident, we are here to help. With over 75 years combined legal experience in handling serious accident and wrongful death cases, we know how to get you and family through the ordeal of your life. Compare our credentials and then call us for a private consultation with one of our attorneys. You can visit our website at www.rjrlaw.com and/or call us toll-free at 877-374-5999, even after hours or on weekends. Get your questions answered. Sleep better tonight.

U.S. traffic deaths jump 13.5 percent in 2012

  • By David Shepardson
  • Detroit News Washington Bureau

Traffic deaths in the first three months of 2012 jumped 13.5 percent to the highest number since 2008.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported Friday that its estimate of traffic deaths for the first quarter of 2012 show a 13.5 percent increase.

The estimated increase is the second largest quarterly jump in traffic deaths since NHTSA began tracking deaths on a quarterly basis in 1975 — and the biggest since 1979.

NHTSA said the rate of traffic deaths per 100 million miles of vehicle travel increased substantially. For the first three months of 2012, the rate increased significantly to 1.10 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, up from 0.98 fatalities per 100 million miles in the same period last year.

NHTSA said it estimates 7,630 people died in vehicle crashes in the first three months, up from 6,720 in the first quarter of 2011.

The increase would end a steady decline in U.S. road deaths over the last seven years.

One reason may be the very warm winter across the country meant people drove more.

First-quarter road deaths are typically much lower than the last nine months of the year largely because people drive less in the winter.

“However, the winter of 2012 was also unseasonably warmer than usual in most areas of the country,” NHTSA said in a statement. “Consequently, the fatality rate for the first quarter should not be used to make inferences for the fatality rate for the whole of 2012.”

Traffic deaths in 2011 fell 1.7 percent — their lowest number since 1949.

NHTSA said in May that 32,310 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year, down 1.7 percent over the 32,885 road deaths in 2010.

Traffic fatalities had been steadily declining over the last five years since hitting 42,708 in 2005, decreasing by about 26 percent from 2005 to 2011. The decline in road deaths in 2011 is smaller than 2010, when road deaths fell 2.9 percent

Part of the increase is attributable to Americans driving more.

NHTSA noted that vehicle travel increased by about 9.7 billion miles, or about a 1.4 percent, in the first three months.

In 2011, travel on U.S. roads fell to its lowest level since 2003. Last year, U.S. drivers logged 35.7 billion fewer miles over 2010 — down 1.2 percent — to 2.963 trillion miles.

Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, said the news was disappointing.

“While it is too early to draw conclusions about the data and the reasons for the increase, the strengthening economy and the warm winter may be factors,” Harsha said. “Any increase in traffic deaths is unacceptable and we remain absolutely committed to working with our partners at NHTSA and across the country to keep the roadways safe.”