The number of traffic-related deaths worldwide reached a high of 1.35 million in 2016, according to news reports about the World Health Organization’s 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety.
Although the report points out that progress has been made in certain areas, such as legislation, it has not happened quickly enough to meet the UN’s goals to halve road traffic deaths between 2016 and 2020.
Closer to home, New York and Pennsylvania roadway statistics continue to show how dangerous our roads are. And with the winter months ahead of us, dangers grow on our roads.
The numbers are eye-opening.
From the latest New York State report,
for the years 2012-2014:
On average there were 1,098 deaths each year due to motor vehicle traffic-related injuries, killing 5.6 of every 100,000 New Yorkers. The rates were highest for males and New Yorkers ages 65 and older followed by those 20 to 24 years old.
The rate of deaths due to motor vehicle traffic-related injuries decreased from a high of 8.4 per 100,000 residents in 2001 to a low of 4.9 in 2014.
On average, there were 12,093 hospitalizations each year due to motor vehicle traffic-related injuries, hospitalizing 61.5 of every 100,000 New Yorkers. The rates were highest for males and New Yorkers ages 20 to 24 years old, followed by those 65 and older.
The rate of hospitalizations due to motor vehicle traffic-related injuries has decreased from a high of 87.5 hospitalizations per 100,000 New Yorkers in 2002 to 57.0 in 2014.
BY THE NUMBERS:
On average. there were 136,913 emergency department (ED) visits each year due to unintentional motor vehicle traffic-related injuries, requiring the treatment of 696.6 of every 100,000 New Yorkers. The rates were highest for females and New Yorkers ages 20 to 24 years old, followed by ages 15 to 19.
The rate of ED visits due to unintentional motor vehicle traffic-related injuries decreased from 778.7 ED visits per 100,000 New Yorkers in 2005 to 685.8 in 2008. They increased to 731.0 in 2010, followed by a decrease until 2013 when the rate increased to 737.0. In 2014, the rate decreased to 683.1.
In 2017, there were 128,188 reportable traffic crashes in Pennsylvania. These crashes claimed the lives of 1,137 people and injured another 80,612 people. To add some perspective, the 2017 total of reportable traffic crashes is the twelfth lowest total since 1950, when 113,748 crashes were reported.
In 2016, there were approximately 101.1 billion vehicle-miles of travel on Pennsylvania’s roads and highways. The 2017 fatality rate of 1.12 fatalities per hundred million vehicle-miles of travel was the lowest ever recorded in Pennsylvania since the department started keeping records of this in 1935.
The two biggest causes of collisions I have been seeing lately are distracted driving resulting in rear-end collisions and driving too fast for conditions (usually in snow but sometimes in rain).
One other big cause is left-turning cars that fail to yield the right-of-way to oncoming vehicles.
My best advice, based on more than 30 years of representing injured clients in crash cases:
- Slow down this winter, because you never know when you will hit ice or frozen debris in roadways.
- Turn the phone off until you are stopped or reach your destination. No peeking at traffic lights.
- Beware of vehicles turning left or planning to turn left. Some people never turn their turn signal on, and some do but either don’t see you approaching or think they can make the turn before you are in the intersection. Approach intersections with extra caution because everyone seems to be in a hurry and in no mood to wait.
Thanks for reading,
Best Lawyers’ “2015 & 2017 & 2019 Lawyer of the Year”