According to new federal statistics, your risk of being involved in a fatal traffic accident just got lower. In November, the federal Department of Transportation reported that traffic fatalities actually went down for most groups between 2006 and 2007. The new numbers come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency responsible for tracking and preventing auto accidents, through its latest collection of Traffic Safety Facts. These factsheets use data compiled from more than 40,000 crashes around the United States in one calendar year to present crash and fatality rates for specific groups. Groups covered include occupants of cars, large trucks and motorcycles, pedestrians, cyclists, older people and children.
The NHTSA’s research has good news for almost all of those groups. Nearly every group has seen a drop in fatal accidents. Between 2006 and 2007, fatal accidents affecting pedestrians dropped by 2.9%; bicyclists and other cyclists, 9.5%; and large commercial trucks, 3.8%. Among children 14 and younger, there was a 6.9% decrease in fatalities in all types of traffic accident; among drivers 65 and older, the decrease was 1.6%. While the factsheet for auto accidents is still on its way, a preliminary report published in August says accidents among passenger cars, trucks and SUVs dropped by 5.7%, which includes a 7.8% drop in fatal accidents involving just cars. Unfortunately, Illinois alone saw a negligible 0.4% drop in fatal accidents.
The major exception was motorcycle riders and their passengers. (The NHTSA includes riders of scooters and mopeds in its motorcycle statistics.) Motorcyclists actually saw a 7% increase in fatalities between 2006 and 2007. In fact, this reflects a steady climb in motorcycle fatalities over the last decade. The factsheet doesn’t say why this might be, but a separate report (PDF) by the NHTSA shows that more motorcycles are being registered, new motorcycles are likely to be larger, and that the rate of brand-new riders over 40 jumped by more than 200% during the past decade. The report doesn’t speculate on how these facts might influence accident rates, but they’re certainly something for older motorcyclists to consider.
Here in Illinois, 2006 statistics show that we’re fairly good drivers, with our overall fatality rates below the national average and below neighboring states’ rates. But even one traffic fatality is a death that could have been avoided if someone involved had taken a little more care. If you’ve been hurt or lost a loved one in a traffic accident that was someone else’s fault, you have the right to hold that person responsible for the results. In an Illinois car accident lawsuit, you can win money to pay medical bills, repair costs and other financial costs of the accident, as well as financial compensation for intangible but very real injuries like a disability that will forever change your life. If you’d like to learn more, Abels & Annes can help at a free consultation. To speak with one of our experienced Chicago car accident lawyers today, please contact us through our Web site or call (312) 475-9596.