A recent tractor-trailer crash on I-77 in South Carolina left two people dead.Investigators report it was about 6 a.m. when the commercial tractor-trailer ran off the right side of the highway, slid down an embankment and slammed into several trees. The two people who were inside the truck, including the driver, were killed.
The aftermath of this kind of tragic event is one that our Greenville trucking accident lawyers are sadly seeing more and more of these days, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Association reporting a 5.3 percent uptick in traffic fatalities nationally over the last year.
Although that percentage is based on preliminary reports, officials don’t expect it will fluctuate dramatically.
The number of traffic-related deaths went from about 32,300 in 2011 to more than 34,000 last year. If when the final results are in we still see a reflected increase, it will be the first time traffic deaths have gone up since 2004-2005. In the interim between then and 2011, traffic fatalities fell by about 26 percent.
The NHTSA is hesitant to provide speculation concerning what might be behind the uptick, at least until the final numbers are counted. What we do know is that the number of vehicle miles traveled is up slightly. We’re up to about 9.1 billion vehicle miles traveled in this country, which reflected a 0.3 percent increase last year over the previous year.
When we factor in the number of vehicle miles traveled, the fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled was 1.16 last year. That’s up from 1.10 the year before, or about 5.5 percent.
This aspect of the increase was anticipated. With the economy recovering, we have more people working and commuting to work, more people who are filling up their gas tanks, more people taking vacations and road trips and more people who can afford to allow their teens to drive vehicles. So, in some ways, we expected the number of deaths to rise at least somewhat.
However, we had hoped that distracted driving education campaigns, drunk driving checkpoints and other safety efforts would have had a greater impact.
What’s even more troubling is that in South Carolina, we are well on our way to surpassing even last year’s total crash fatalities. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, there were 362 fatal crashes in the state in all of 2012. So far this year, as of June 18, there have been 289. Last year, there were a total of 390 people killed on South Carolina’s roadways. So far this year, there have been 310 deaths – and we’re only halfway through the year.
The number of traffic fatalities did vary somewhat by region, with South Carolina’s Region 4 faring better than most with a traffic fatality increase of 2 percent. Other areas of the country saw increases as high as 9 and 10 percent.
Still, when we’re talking about the loss of precious lives, any increase is unacceptable, and we have a responsibility to do everything in our power to prevent it.
If you are involved in a traffic accident, contact Grimes Teich Anderson LLP. Call 1.800.533.6845. No Attorney Fees Until You’ve Been Paid, exclusive of case costs.
Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2012, May 2013, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
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