Increased traffic congestion in New York and around the country has made the nation’s roads more dangerous in recent years despite significant advances in automobile safety systems and equipment, and most experts believe that fatalities will fall only slightly in the years ahead. Traffic levels are higher because fuel costs are low and the economy is thriving, and these conditions are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave automotive technology and design improvements much of the credit when a study conducted several years ago revealed that driver death rates had fallen by more than a third in just three years, but fatalities are now climbing again. The number of Americans killed in car accidents surged by 7 percent in 2015 after falling steadily since the 1970s, and government crash data suggests that 2016 was even more deadly on the nation’s roads.
Automotive safety systems have been improving steadily, but they are now more likely to be fitted to smaller, lighter and more fuel-efficient cars and SUVs. The IIHS uses data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System to identify safety trends for different vehicle classes and even individual models, and the nonprofit group says that today’s more agile cars may not be any safer in real-world situations than their less sophisticated but more substantial predecessors.
An alarming increase in distracted driving is also making the roads more treacherous, and personal injury attorneys with experience in this area will likely have represented victims of this reckless behavior. Distracted drivers rarely take evasive action before crashing and are often killed themselves in the accidents they cause, and those who do survive sometimes face the prospect of years or even decades in prison. However, attorneys in such situations may still pursue civil remedies on behalf of accident victims by filing litigation against the driver’s estate or insurance provider.