The fervent hope of traffic safety experts and automakers was that new safety technologies would make automobile accidents, particularly fatal ones, increasingly rare.
Add technology to concerted efforts to curb driving under the influence and the use of cell phones by drivers, and roads should be the safest they have been in years – right?
Data from 2016 shows just the opposite with a 10% jump in the number of people dying in car accidents in Connecticut in 2016, the second consecutive year of such increases.
And the U.S. as a whole – also two consecutive years of rising death rates (up 14%) – the first such two-year rise in more than 50 years.
So what’s going on?
Our first thought was that distracted driving tied to cell phone and on-board computer use was probably the culprit.
While distracted driving is certainly a contributor to highway deaths – safety experts believe something else is actually the primary cause of the rise…
Unbelted drivers accounted for over 50% of all traffic fatalities in 2016.
How’s that possible you ask? Well, only 18 states in the U.S. have laws requiring that seat belts be worn by drivers and all passengers. Connecticut is not one of those states that require back seat belts to be used. (The Connecticut legislature is just now debating changes in the law to require all passengers to buckle up).
It is also the case that during improving economic times, more people take to the highway in their cars and trucks. That fact alone may be contributing to a rise in accidents and deaths. But the state and the nation have enjoyed good economic times in the past without seeing an uptick in fatalities.
Could safety technology be causing drivers to become complacent or overconfident?
Hard to know.
This much remains clear:
- Always wear your seat belt when driving and make sure all of your passengers buckle up.
- Never drink or use drugs and drive.
- Never text or chat on a cell phone and drive.
- Avoid becoming distracted by onboard technology while driving.
If you’re ever injured in a car accident of any kind, know that the Connecticut car accident lawyers at RisCassi & Davis have been assisting drivers injured in accidents for over 60 years. And we have received meaningful state and national recognition for our work in this area. If you are ever in a car accident of any kind and would like a free consultation with one of our Connecticut car accident lawyers, please contact us. There is no obligation of any kind.