Car crash deaths climb despite better auto safety – USA TODAY
Despite more safety equipment in cars, car crash deaths are rising — and Labor Day weekend could be prove to be the deadliest since 2008, says the National Safety Council.
Based on recent crash death rates, which has been on the rise since 2014, the council predicts that this Labor Day holiday period will result in 438 people being killed during the three-day holiday weekend.
The biggest increases in car crash-deaths have been in Florida, where there has been a 43%increase since 2014. Then comes Georgia (34%), Indiana (33%), California (31%), North Carolina (26%), Illinois (24%) and Kentucky (24%), according to the council.
About 19,100 people have been killed on U.S. roads since January – enough to fill 382 school buses – and 2.2 million were seriously injured, the council says.
This increase, though very real, may be misleading, says Kelley’s Blue Book managing editor Matt DeLorenzo, since it’s not just the number of fatalities that has increased.
“The number of miles driven is also up.” says DeLorenzo. “And that will drive up the aggregate numbers. More miles driven means more people will die.”
The number of people who haven’t died as a result of a car crash is also likely increasing thanks to a raft of new safety features that have come to cars, including more airbags, automated braking, blind spot warnings, backup cameras and others.. “It’s a complicated situation because cars are definitely getting safer, but you could have all the air bags or warnings in the world and if you’re not paying attention something bad can happen.” says DeLorenzo.
With cars on the road today equipped with more advanced safety features than ever before, the still high mortality rate is often a result of the drivers being their own worst enemy.
“These numbers could be lower if distracted driving wasn’t an issue.” says DeLorenzo. “Ten years ago people weren’t using smartphones as much, so I think if there was a study on distract driving (it would show) their share of fatalities has been growing and that’s keeping the numbers up.”