ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Last year, over 2 million people were injured in motor vehicle crashes. Statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show over 32,000 people died in car crashes in 2014. These statistics will set the bar for years to come as safety advocates aim to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities as the result of car crashes.
A Rochester car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes said the number of injuries and fatalities are decreasing but there are still reasons to be concerned.
“In 1980, there were over 50,000 deadly car crashes and many of those happened in places like Rochester,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Safer cars and technology have helped reduce those deadly crashes but 30,000 deaths is still too many and it’s important for drivers to be safe and attentive on the roads.”
The statistics can help auto experts determine what safety features work on roadways and highway infrastructure. The data can also tell us which features don’t work. In effect, people’s lives depend on crash statistics.
That’s why Honda was fined a record $70 million for grossly underreporting fatal accidents and injuries to the U.S. government. The fined doubled a penalty against General Motors for their role in failing to issue recalls in a timely manner last year. Attorneys say the trend shows how much is at stake when it comes to accurate statistics.
“If the number of deadly crashes decreases, that means the auto industry is doing something right,” Cellino said. “Statistics don’t help us if they’re doctored – in fact, it could put people at risk.”
Amidst the reportedly failed emissions tests, some are accusing Volkswagen of doctoring their crash numbers. VW is already on the hot seat for installing software that would allegedly cheat required emissions tests. Now, Bloomberg News is reporting the company’s injury and death rate was suspiciously low.
The German automaker could already face billions in fines from the emissions software and if the allegations are true, the company could tack on more substantial penalties for fudging the crash data.
According to an analysis of government data, Bloomberg discovered Vokswagen’s crash rate was lower than Honda and Fiat Chrysler’s numbers, two companies that admitted to underreporting claims.
“These claims can serve as an early warning system for federal investigators to spot vehicle defects,” Cellino said. “In the past year, we’ve already seen a record number of recalls and if the correct numbers aren’t reported, there could be even more recalls.”
There is no evidence that suggests Volkswagen is deliberately underreporting claims but the numbers may spark another investigation from the NHTSA.
With millions of vehicles on the roads today, Americans could be driving a defective car without knowing about its safety hazards. If you were hurt in a crash, Cellino & Barnes urges you to contact a Rochester car accident attorney today to discuss your legal options. Many crash victims may be entitled to significant compensation if negligence is found to be a factor.