Deaths from Automobile Accidents Fell Sharply in 2008

The truck accident attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers are pleased to report that the number of auto fatalities has fallen over the past few years. Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that deaths from traffic accidents fell in 2008 and have steadily fallen over the past three years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NTSA”) calculated that the number of auto fatalities were down 10% in the first ten months of 2008.

According to the Wall Street Journal, although experts in the field do not know what has caused this steady decline, they point to four factors that may have contributed to the recent decline:
• The economic downturn; researchers at the Governors Highway Safety Association (“GHSA”) noted that due to the economic downturn and increased fuel prices, many drivers have slowed their speeds to increase their vehicle’s fuel economy. A study by another government agency concluded that automobiles get their best gas mileage between the speeds of 30 and 60 miles per hour. For example, a 2005 Ford Focus traveling at a steady 40 miles per hour could get as much as 45 miles per gallon.
• Cars with greater safety features; recently, automakers have begun surpassing government automotive safety standards. For example, federal law will require all cars to have electronic stability control by 2012. However, most new cars currently come equipped with electronic stability control systems and rollover prevention mechanisms in addition to side curtain airbags and other safety features. Also, the number of vehicles that performed poorly in crash tests has decreased over recent years. In 2008, 11 of the 21 small cars tested by the Insurance Institute Highway Safety (“IIHS”) received good ratings in side impact testing, compared with only 3 of the 19 tested in 2006.
• Changing attitudes toward drunk driving; the number of drunk driving deaths have also decreased as many state governments have launched programs to make drunk driving socially unacceptable in addition to being serious crimes.

• Seat belts; The NHTSA found that 83% of drivers and passengers used their seatbelts in 2008, the highest rate in history. National “Click it or Ticket” programs seem to have helped reduce the number of unrestrained drivers and therefore increased accident survivability.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact our Maryland truck accident attorneys for a free consultation.

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