Cars are an integral part of the American economy. Most people have lifestyles that revolve around owning their own vehicle, and communities aren’t built for public transportation or walking to work. Cars are a symbol of early adulthood and also a symbol of status for those who can afford prestige vehicles.
Unfortunately, they are also one of the most dangerous parts of living in the United States. Crashes caused by motor vehicles are a leading cause of death for both children and adults. They also leave hundreds of thousands of people hurt and traumatized every year.
Safety advocates have pushed for everything from new vehicle technology to new laws to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes. Statistics from 2019 seem to show promising hints that traffic risks might be on the decline across the United States.
Collisions and fatalities are lower than in previous years
In 2018, crash data revealed a drop of 2% in fatal collisions. The National Safety Council, a federal agency that supplies and analyzes data on crashes, reported 38,800 traffic deaths in 2019.
A 2% drop may not seem like much, but that means about 604 fewer people lost their lives in collisions last year. 2018 has 39,404 deaths, while 2017 had 40,231 traffic fatalities. There was also a 2% drop in the number of serious injuries resulting from crashes. Some states, including Vermont, New Hampshire and South Dakota, saw a drop of 20% or more in fatal crashes in just a single year.
While it will still be many months before the 2020 data about collisions become publicly available, reporting and unofficial tracking already seemed to indicate a drop in collisions in 2020 as well, in part due to a drop in overall vehicle use.
When crashes do occur, they can change your life
Although the total number of collisions may be on the decline right now, thousands of people do die in motor vehicle crashes every year, with many more suffering severe injuries.
Spinal cord injuries, severely broken bones and traumatic brain injuries could make someone dependent on outside medical care poor and end their professional career. Victims of such crashes can sometimes make insurance claims or even file civil lawsuits to help recoup their losses.