Traffic Fatalities Rose Significantly in 2015

In recent years, officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) have confirmed that the number of traffic deaths taking place on American roads have decreased. However, that trend has now come to an abrupt halt as data from 2015 shows not only a lack of a decrease but instead, a significant increase in the number of fatalities reported.

Based on its numbers, the NHTSA concludes that traffic deaths in the first nine months of 2015 rose 9.3 percent over the same period in 2014. This means that more than 26,000 people lost their lives in traffic collisions in the first nine months of 2015 while 23,796 people were killed in that time span in 2014, an increase of more than 2,200 lost lives.

Experts are now debating the causes for this increase in an effort to understand it and then to reverse the trend.

By and large, the primary cause of car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere in the country is driver error. Mistakes, poor judgment, and errors made by those behind the wheel are the cause of the vast majority of crashes and are to blame for a large number of fatalities. But driver error encompasses countless common issues made by drivers and therefore it is important to understand exactly what forms these errors take.

In 2015, one of the biggest threats to safety on the roadways was distracted driving. Drivers who made phone calls, texted, sent or read emails, surfed the internet, or even watched videos were an issue as they made crashes much more likely. But distraction can also happen when a motorist is eating while driving, talking to a passenger, daydreaming, or even watching the scenery outside of their cars, and passengers inside a distracted driver’s vehicle as well as those in other cars are at risk.

Drunk driving is believed to have played a substantial role in the road deaths of 2015. In all states, operating with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater is a crime and can lead to severe punishments. However, the consequences of drunk driving are much more extreme if an accident claims the life of one or more people involved or leaves victims hurt. Similarly, though many drivers admit to speeding, they fail to think of speeding as a safety issue. Yet across the country, half of all collisions involve speed as a factor and experts believe that eliminating speeding could save thousands of lives annually.

These factors existed in 2014 as well as 2015, so it is hard to say that they are behind the increase in fatalities noted. However, as the incidence of distracted driving continues to increase, it is causing more and more deaths on America’s roadways. Increased traffic from an increased population may also be a factor and inclement weather may be part of the story.

If a fatal accident in Illinois claimed the life of someone you love, the laws in the state may entitle you to relief, though no amount of money can ever be considered adequate for the damage that was caused. The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. offer a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation to those who call us toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and we have a licensed lawyer available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

At Abels & Annes, P.C., we have experience fighting for the rights of those who have suffered due to the actions of others. If we can help you, call us now and let us fight for your right to relief.

Prior Blog Entry:

Government Urging Drivers to Check for Auto Recalls Regularly, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published February 1, 2016.


U.S. DOT announces steep increase in roadway deaths based on 2015 early estimates and convenes first regional summit to drive traffic safety behavior changes, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, published February 5, 2016.

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