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NSC: traffic deaths reach 40,000 for third year in a row

For three consecutive years, from 2016 to 2018, the number of traffic deaths in North Carolina and across the U.S. has reached and even exceeded 40,000. This is according to preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council. In 2018, there were approximately 40,000 fatalities, which was a 1% decline from 2016, at 40,327 deaths, and 2017, at 40,231 deaths.

A 5.8% increase in fatalities could be seen in Washington, D.C., and several states, including Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida, Minnesota, Nevada and Hawaii. On the other hand, Maine, New Jersey, Kansas and Wyoming were notably safer with a more than 9.4% drop in roadway deaths. Overall, though, the trend is not good; numbers are 14% higher than they were in 2015. Bad driving behaviors are largely to blame.

For example, distracted driving was estimated to have contributed to 8% of crashes. Drowsy driving was a factor in 2% of accidents. Drugged driving, especially driving under the influence of opioids, has also become an epidemic.

Drivers can do something about all of this. First, they can practice defensive driving, which means avoiding distractions, getting adequate sleep, anticipating other drivers' movements and designating a sober driver to drive them if they drink. Embracing new driver assistance systems can help, and drivers with existing tech in their vehicles should make sure they understand its functions.

If drivers fail to do their part and cause a car accident through their own negligence, they may face a claim from those parties who were injured. In North Carolina, one can only file a claim when the defendant is 100% at fault, so it may be smart to have a lawyer evaluate the case first. If the case is a valid one, the lawyer may bring in a network of professionals to build it up before heading off to negotiations.

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