The year 2015 was not a good year for drivers. Based on data from the first half of the year provided by National Safety Council, there were 356 fatalities in car accidents from January to June of 2015 in the state of Indiana. During the same time period in the prior year, there were 289 fatalities in Indiana car crashes. This reflects a 23 percent increase in the number of people who were killed in motor vehicle accidents in Indiana in just a single year.
Drivers nationwide actually faced a bigger risk of car crashes in 2015 as compared with in 2014. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports an 8.1 percent rise in the number of people killed, and a 4.4 percent rise in the fatality rate from 2014 to 2015. The fatality rate measures how many people die in car crashes per 100 million miles driven. It helps determine whether more crashes happened simply because there were more people driving longer periods, or whether more crashes happened because drivers weren't as safe.
Drivers need to be aware of how much car accident deaths rose over the course of the year and need to make a commitment to do better in the future so 2016 does not see the death toll climb again.
Resolve to Be a Better Driver and Bring 2016 Death Rates Down
Drivers cause accidents when they break traffic rules or are careless or negligent and do not follow best practices for safety. Some of the different ways which drivers can improve the operation of their vehicles so they can help reduce crash rates next year include the following:
- Avoid speeding. Speeding and aggressive driving account for close to a third of all car accidents nationwide, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- Exercise extra care at intersections. Intersections are the site of around 40 percent of crashes within the United States. Inadequate surveillance is the cause of close to half of all accidents at intersections.
- Avoid the Three D's. Drunk, distracted, and drowsy driving account for around 33 percent, 10 percent, and 2.6 percent of all fatal crashes, respectively.
- Drive defensively. Don't count on other motorists to keep you safe and don't assume other motorists are going to obey traffic rules. Pay attention to what is going on around you and react to protect yourself from harm.
- Share the road with pedestrians and bicycle riders. Pedestrian death rates have been on the upswing, rising 3.1 percent in 2014 as compared with in 2013. Watch for bikers and pedestrians and leave them plenty of space.
Lower gas prices and a better economy helped to explain why there were so many more collisions in 2015, but these factors aren't a sufficient explanation because not only did the number of deaths rise but the fatality rate also rose as well. Driver error is a leading reason why people die in car crashes, and drivers have the power to take steps to reduce crash risks and keep people safe. By following these safety guidelines in 2016, hopefully motorists will be effective at reducing the death rate once again.