ROCHESTER, N.Y. – When you get in a car, it’s considerably safer today than it was 10 or 20 years ago. For the past two decades, new safety features have attributed to a declining number of deadly collisions but many industry officials expect the first increase in years after they crunch the numbers for 2015.
According to the National Safety Council, motor vehicle deaths were up 14 percent in the first six months this year – recording more than 18,000 traffic deaths and that’s not all: the total number of crashes involving injuries could be up as high as 30 percent.
A Rochester car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes said this upward trend should be concerning for any motorist.
“We’re now heading into the heart of fall and winter is right around the corner – these are two of the most dangerous seasons for drivers in Rochester,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “It’s heartbreaking to see the trend going in the wrong direction after years of progress.”
The NSC said the rising number of accidents could be attributed to lower gas prices and an improving economy. The fewest fatalities registered since the 1950’s occurred in 2011 – as the economy was still feeling negative effects.
If the pace continues this year, traffic fatalities could rise by over 13 percent – the largest increase since 1946.
“The auto industry has been crippled with recalls and concerning questions about how safe vehicles really are,” Cellino said. “Educating drivers to be safe on roadways is good but there are ways to improve vehicle safety as well.”
Automatic braking, an emerging safety feature is considered a ‘luxury’ item by most automakers and it usually doesn’t come standard on a new vehicle purchase. However, government officials are pressing automakers to include the feature as a standard device on new car sales.
The other issue at hand could be the increased use of smartphones while driving. Some surveys showed that as many as 75 percent of all drivers use their smartphones while behind the wheel. Texting, being the most common activity on smartphones, more than 60 percent of drivers have openly admitted to sending or receiving messages when they should have been focusing on the road.
Rochester car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say the increase in injuries and deaths is “alarming” and NSC researchers suggested it could be the beginning of a trend as opposed to an outlying spike or bump in the number of accidents.