The number of people who were killed in car accidents on U.S. roads increased by 8 percent in 2015, the National Safety Council (NSC) announced this week. According to a report in The Hill, the Council said there were 38,300 people killed in car accidents in 2015 compared to 35,236 in 2014.
The group said the increase was the largest percentage year-over-year jump in the number of car crash fatalities in the last five decades. NSC said the states with largest increased in auto accident deaths in 2015 were Oregon, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. Only 13 states saw reductions in the number of car accidents including New Mexico, Kansas and New Jersey.
Possible Causes for the Increase
Safety experts say there may be a number of reasons why auto accidents may have increased in 2015 including an improving economy and lower gas prices. Many fear, however, that the most disturbing reason for this spike may be distracted driving. AAA now says that distracted driving accounts for anywhere between 25 to 50 percent of all car accidents.
The use of electronic devices including cell phones is probably the single, largest contributor to the increase in distracted driving accidents. But, we tend to forget that drivers indulge in a variety of activity in our vehicles that could be distracting from talking on the cell phone to eating, drinking, playing with a pet, talking to passengers, grooming and applying makeup.
Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
There are a number of steps each and every one of us can take to prevent distracted driving:
• Put your cell phone away. Turn it off or put it in an inaccessible location in your vehicle.
• If you must use your phone, pull over to a safe location and do so.
• Know your route before you start driving to help avoid looking at a map or GPS while driving.
• Avoid eating, drinking or multi-tasking while driving.
• Be a role model to your children so they understand the dangers of distracted driving and develop safe driving habits.