The NHTSA recently released the findings from its analysis of fatal traffic statistics for the 2016 calendar year. Unfortunately, the report contained very few surprises that could be considered good news. Distracted-driving deaths did fall by 2.2 percent to 3,450 and those from drowsy driving by 3.5 percent to 803, but there were still 37,461 total deaths on American roads, resulting in a total rise of 5.6 percent over those seen in 2015. —
This is in part accounted for by increased traffic with vehicle miles traveled (VMT) rising by 2.2 percent. This equates to a fatality rate of 1.18 deaths per 100 million VMT or a 2.6 percent increase from the previous year based on miles driven alone.
The chief causes of traffic deaths were drunk driving (10,497) increasing by 1.7 percent; speeding (10.111), a 4.0 percent increase; and people failing to wear their seatbelts (10,428), which rose by 4.6 percent.
Most troubling of the report’s findings was the drastic increase in the number of motorcyclists and pedestrians who lost their lives in traffic accidents. Biker deaths increased by 5.1 percent in 2015 to numbers not seen since 2008, and pedestrian deaths increased by 9.1 percent, reaching levels equal to those of 1990 and predating what has been termed the birth of America’s safety culture.
Florida has long had the highest motorcycle fatality rate in the United States, but what is especially troubling about these latest numbers is that while biker deaths have increased nationwide, the toll in Florida rose by an astounding 22 percent, accounting in large part for the overall upward trend in this category.
When asked about this disturbing trend, Melbourne, Florida, personal injury attorney and motorcycle enthusiast Brad Sinclair commented, “The numbers are disturbing but not necessarily surprising. Florida, on a per capita base, has the largest motorcycle community in the country, and it has grown tremendously in just the last few years. So it makes sense that our numbers would appear disproportionate in a study of this type. The increased numbers of resident bikers and those visiting our state for events like Daytona could in large part account for the increase.”
He continued, “When you factor in a large number of older drivers and tourists who might not be used to driving around this amount of motorcycle traffic, it becomes even easier to understand. In fact, the majority of accidents involving a motorcycle are found to be the other motorist’s fault.” Easy to understand or not, this year’s report from the NHTSA would seem to indicate that there is more to Florida’s traffic problems than meets the eye.
The problem doesn’t seem to be confined to this state alone. With few exceptions, it would appear that America’s roads are becoming less safe, especially for those who chose two wheels over four. People in greater numbers are drinking and driving. Fewer people are wearing their seatbelts, and more people are losing their lives on U.S. roads.
Name: Scot Small
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Organization: Sinclair Law
Address: 5465 N US Highway 1 Melbourne FL 32940
Release ID: 269686