According to statistics released on the first of this month, deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents rose 7.7 percent in 2015. Tragically, this percentage means 35,200 individuals lost their lives in accidents last year. In 2014, 32,675 people were killed in crashes. These statistics include pedestrians and cyclists killed in accidents involving a motor vehicle. In fact, the most significant increases in death were among pedestrians and people on bicycles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is working to determine the factors that contributed to the increase. Dr. Mark Rosekind, NHTSA Director, said in a press release that one contributing factor may be higher rates of driving last year, and possibly for more miles, due to lower gas prices. But he also said 94 percent of crashes are related to errors or choices made by drivers.
Because so many crashes are caused by human error, many of them are also 100 percent preventable. Here are some ways you can do your part to reduce the risk of getting in an accident:
- Don't drive distracted. Turn your phone to silent. Place it in the backseat or otherwise out of sight, so you won't be tempted to use it. Other distractions you should avoid are arguing with passengers, adjusting navigation, applying cosmetics and staring out the side window.
- Keep your vehicle in good shape. Routine maintenance can help you avoid tire blowouts, mechanical failure and other problems that can cause accidents. You should also be aware of any recalls pertaining to your vehicle and have those problems fixed as soon as possible.
- Don't drive when you're drowsy. Fatigued driving has similar effects to drunk driving. Your judgment is impaired, your reactions slowed and your cognition impeded by drowsiness. Don't plan to drive during late-night hours and try to pull over in a safe spot to rest if you find yourself feeling excessively drowsy behind the wheel.
If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident in Bangor, Portland or anywhere in the state of Maine, please call Lowry & Associates at 1-800-999-5342, for a free case evaluation.