According to new estimates from the National Safety Council, fatal accidents have increased to levels above those in 2007. Lower gas prices and a stronger economy may be partially responsible for the surge. Fatalities hit 40,200 in 2016, which represents a six percent increase over 2015.
In addition to more cars on the road, another contributing factor in the increase in fatal car accidents appears to be growing numbers of people engaging in dangerous driving behaviors. According to a National Safety Council survey, nearly half of drivers feel that it is okay to text while driving.
Even more alarming is the fact that 10 percent of drivers admitted to driving while drunk, and 43 percent of those individuals reported that they have been in an automobile accident while intoxicated. Further, 16 percent of survey respondents stated that they did not always wear their seat belt, and another quarter of respondents said that they felt that it was okay to speed on residential streets. In an effort to reduce accidents, the NSC has called for a total ban on cell phones in automobiles, including hands-free devices.
Even a relatively small car accident can result in large expenses since vehicle repairs can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. When accidents are more severe and involve injuries, medical bills can skyrocket. If someone is injured enough to have to take time off of work, they may also have to face the burden of lost wages. Determining the appropriate amount of compensation for accident costs is essential to avoiding having to pay out of pocket for bills. A lawyer could help someone determine a realistic amount and assist them in pursuing it.