As economy strengthens, car crash fatalities rise

The roads in Connecticut and throughout the U.S. may be getting deadlier, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The cause is believed to be due to the fact that a stronger economy has encouraged more people to drive.

The study compared the overall rate of driver fatalities in late-model vehicles between 2012 and 2015. For the 2014 models in 2015, the rate was 30 per million registered vehicle years. For 2011 models in 2012, the rate was 28 per million registered vehicle years. Ultimately, the number of traffic deaths increased 7 percent in 2015. Preliminary data suggests that the number of traffic fatalities has also increased in 2016. However, the increase in fatalities is predictable in stronger economies as more people are out driving on the roads. Furthermore, people are more likely to take road trips or travel for vacation when the economy is in better shape.

When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety previously calculated the rate of driver fatalities, the overall rate had actually fallen. This was attributed to safer vehicle designs and improvements in auto safety technology. Even though new vehicles continuously perform better in IIHS crash tests, the improvements are not enough to completely eliminate traffic fatalities. As such, other efforts to reduce the number of traffic deaths may be needed.

As more drivers take over the roadways, the risk of becoming involved in an accident caused by a fatigued, negligent or distracted driver increases. If a person suffers serious or even life-threatening injuries in a car crash that was caused by a driver who was texting and driving or involved in other risky behaviors, they could seek compensation. A personal injury attorney could negotiate with the insurance company to reach a settlement or file a lawsuit if no agreement can be made out of court.