The death toll on California’s roadways is on the rise as a result of risky driving and, according to a report authored by the National Safety Council, a fatalistic complacency present in many drivers. In 2016, traffic deaths rose 14% over the previous year in California, and 19% over the past 2 years. The national death toll rose 6% during the past year and 14% over the past 2, which marks the largest 2-year spike in the country since 1964.
These numbers were based on preliminary estimates of traffic fatalities involving motor vehicles on public roads, highways, and private property. Although traffic experts have yet to analyze the numbers, this drastic increase is believed to be caused by distracted driving, speeding, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
While California’s numbers were alarmingly high, the state did not lead the country in terms of percentage increases, though it did in numbers. The report claimed that 3,680 people died in traffic collisions in 2016 compared to the previous year’s 3,249 deaths. Nationally, it is estimated that at least 40,000 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2016.
San Francisco turned out to be something of an exception, witnessing a slight decline between the years 2015 and 2014. There was also a decrease in pedestrian deaths in 2016.
Ken Kolosh, the manager of statistics for the National Safety Council, pointed to distracted driving as a major culprit in this deadly uptrend. In the past, there was a concern regarding people talking on their cell phones while behind the wheel, but that is no longer the biggest threat on the road. Drivers are now texting, using apps, and accessing social media on their smartphones, leading to more accidents, many of which are deadly. In fact, deaths caused by distracted driving rose by 9% in 2015.
Driving Under the Influence
While driving under the influence is certainly not a new problem, it is one that continues to contribute to the rising death toll. According to the report, it increased by 3%. To combat this, the council is seeking to propose the necessary aggressive steps to reduce deadly driving, including the mandatory use of ignition interlock to prevent impaired drivers from starting their cars.
The council would also like to use automated cameras to catch speeders and issue a ban on all cell phone use while driving.
Safety Tactics in San Francisco
In San Francisco, an effort is already being made to employ some safety measures to help address some of these dangerous behaviors. For example, the Vision Zero program, which uses data to determine dangerous driver behaviors and locations, is focused on building safer intersections. The city has also announced its efforts to pursue state legislation that would allow it to use automated cameras to issue speeding citations.
Auto Accident Lawyers in San Francisco
Car accidents are, unfortunately, a common occurrence and often lead to serious injuries for those involved. Much of the time, these accidents are avoidable, caused by negligent, distracted, or even drunk drivers. If you were injured in an auto accident caused by another driver, call Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn to explore your legal options with an experienced member of our San Francisco team. These cases can become quite complex, which is why it is critical to obtain representation with a law firm that has a proven track record of success. We have resolved thousands of cases in the Bay Area and have secured more than $500 million on behalf of our clients.
Call us today at (415) 940-7176 for a free consultation.