According to a new study from the International Transport Forum, which recently held a traffic summit in Leipzig, Germany, 5 of 29 countries saw a jump in traffic deaths between 2010 and 2016. The U.S. had the highest rate of increase at 13.5 percent. Argentina had the second-highest increase in traffic deaths, at 9 percent, and Chile experienced a 5 percent increase. The United States also saw the highest jump in pedestrian deaths during the time period, at 39.2 percent, and a 34.8 percent increase in cyclist deaths.
We know that traffic fatalities have increased in Illinois and throughout the U.S., but it is now clear that these increases are outpacing every other country in the world. While we have known about these increases, there has been some debate about the cause. I have written on this site multiple times that the improved economy during the Obama administration led many more motorists on the road, and thus more accidents. The other factor I have written about over and over is the impact of phone use and distracted drivers.
The above referenced study agrees with this conclusion. According to Fred Wegman, chairman of the International Road Traffic Data and Analysis Group, a division of the Transport Forum, the two main factors that has led to the increase in traffic fatalities is an improved economy and the rise in texting and driving. “Distracted driving is more prevalent and prominent in the United States than in other countries,” Wegman said.
What is the cure for the epidemic? I have written multiple times that there need to be stricter penalties for those caught texting and driving. According to those involved in the this Summit, more research is necessary.
Derek Kan, U.S. undersecretary of transportation for policy, said the U.S. started a safety data initiative last year to predict and better understand what causes traffic fatalities. “What does the data tell us — are there specific intersections, are there specific weather conditions, specific events where we see a spike in traffic fatalities?” Kan said. He said the U.S. is working with local police and state transportation departments to examine causes.Kan said the U.S. also wants to know how significant distracted driving is as an issue in traffic deaths — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found the number of crashes due to texting or talking on mobile devices actually fell in 2016.“Is there a measurement error?” Kan said. “Maybe we’re not capturing this data correctly.”
It’s my opinion that there was a measurement error and they need to look further into the data.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.