Illinois readers may be pleased to learn that U.S. traffic fatalities decreased for the second year in a row in 2019, according to new data released by the National Safety Council. The downward trend comes after a few years of significant increases in roadway deaths.
The NSC estimates that 38,800 people lost their lives on U.S. roads in 2019, which is a 2% decrease compared to 2018 and a 4% drop from 2017. While there was an alarming spike in traffic deaths in 2015 and 2016, road safety is still much better than it was in the 1970s. For example, in 1972, the U.S. traffic death rate was approximately 26.01 fatalities per 100,000 people. By 2014, the rate had plummeted to just 10.28 deaths per 100,000 people. Even after the increase in fatalities in 2015 and 2016, the rate was still just 11.59 deaths per 100,000 people.
According to the NSC, there are likely multiple reasons for the drop in deaths in 2018 and 2019. One possible reason could be that several areas of the country have implemented effective traffic safety initiatives in recent years. For instance, 10 U.S. cities have announced Vision Zero programs designed to mitigate accident risk on local roadways; the Road to Zero coalition and other traffic safety groups have worked to raise road safety awareness among the general public, and Utah recently implemented a .05 legal blood alcohol limit, which is the toughest in the country. Meanwhile, auto manufacturers have added more advanced safety technologies to vehicles, helping drivers avoid or reduce the severity of crashes.
Families of car accident victims might wish to take legal action against the driver who caused the crash. While nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit might provide compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of income, loss of companionship and more.