The National Safety Council (NSC) has released its findings for the first half of 2016 regarding motor vehicle fatalities. According to the NSC, fatalities from motor vehicle accidents increased nine percent from the same period a year before and eighteen percent from the previous year. During the first six months of 2016, approximately 19,100 people died in traffic accidents and 2.2 million people were seriously injured. The total cost from these deaths and injuries is $205 billion.

Florida had the largest increase in motor vehicle fatalities since 2014 in the United States. Florida’s increase in motor vehicle deaths was 43 percent, almost 20 percent more than the fifth largest increase (Kentucky at 24 percent).

Why Are Deaths From Motor Vehicle Accidents Increasing At Such High Rates?

The NSC points to lower unemployment rates and a stronger economy as leading factors for the increase in the rate of motor vehicle fatalities. Furthermore, the average gas price per gallon was 16 percent lower than the same time one year ago. This resulted in a 3.3 percent increase in the number of miles driven.

Another problem that may be responsible for a significant number of traffic-related deaths is distracted driving. Even though most states have laws making the use of handheld cell phones and/or texting while driving illegal, drivers ignore the laws as they continue to use electronic devices while driving. However, it is not just texting while driving or talking on the cell phone that distracts drivers. The latest craze, Pokémon Go, is said to be responsible for several traffic accidents.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is defined as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Teenagers and young adults are not the only drivers who are guilty of driving while distracted. Several studies have shown that adults are more likely to text while driving than teen drivers.

Distracted driving is quickly becoming one of the leading causes of traffic accidents. Any activity a driver engages in while driving that takes his or her focus off the road can be dangerous, even engaging in a conversation with other passengers. Examples of distracted driving include:

    • Texting while driving
    • Talking on the cell phone (either handheld or hands-free)
    • Eating and/or drinking
    • Grooming
    • Reading
    • Watching videos
    • Using social media (i.e. Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
    • Operating electronic devices including GPS devices and onboard devices
    • Adjusting the vehicle’s settings
    • Dressing
    • Paying attention or focusing on objects outside of the vehicle (i.e. animals on the side of the road, car accidents, scenery, landmarks, etc.)

All drivers should take steps to reduce the number of distractions while driving to protect themselves and others.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

If a person dies in a motor vehicle accident, the person’s family may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. Under Florida’s wrongful death laws, the family may be entitled to financial compensation from the driver who caused the accident.

If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, contact our office to discuss the matter with one of our Boca Raton personal injury attorneys. Contact The Broderick Law Firm, P.A. by calling 1-800-333-3903 to speak with an attorney.