Even if you’ve never been involved in a car accident yourself, chances are good that such an incident has had an effect on your life. Nationally, drivers who have a relative or friend who has been killed or seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident amount to nearly one in three.
A serious injury from a motor vehicle collision may disrupt or permanently alter your life, and if an insurance company is unwilling to adequately compensate you, you may need to hire a car accident lawyer in order to get justice.
When it comes to car accidents, Idaho is one of the most dangerous states in the nation. On a list of the most dangerous states for car accidents, based on data from 2016, Idaho was ranked number 19, with 3,754 total fatalities and an annual average of 16 fatalities per 100,000 people.
In 2015 there was a 7.2 percent increase in fatalities on U.S. roadways; 35,092 compared to 32,744 the previous year. It was the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years, second only to an 8.1 percent increase between 1965 and 1966. Nevertheless, the statewide rate for MVA fatalities in Idaho over the same period showed an increase of nearly twice that of the national level at 16.1 percent.
What accounts for the increases? Experts have suggested several possible contributing causes:
- Long commutes
- Declining gas prices
- Driving while distracted, particularly by cell phones
A more casual approach to safe driving habits also contributes, according to the motor club AAA. Even people who would not tolerate risky behavior behind the wheel from family and friends are likely to engage in it themselves.
The following car accident statistics, relating both to Idaho specifically and to the entire country, may help you to better understand the factors that contribute to motor vehicle accidents that result in injuries or fatalities to drivers, passengers, and others. Some of the figures may seem intuitive, while others may surprise you.
1. Rural Drivers are at Greater Risk Than Urban Drivers
You may think of fatal car accidents as more of a big-city problem due to the sheer number of vehicles on the road at the same time. However, research suggests that it is not, in fact, the number of cars in close proximity to you that increases your risk of dying in a car accident but the amount of time you spend driving and the distance you travel. Greater driving distances correlate to a greater risk of a motor vehicle collision. Similarly, urban dwellers have more transportation options available to them than those in rural areas; urbanites have public transportation available to them and are more likely to bike or walk from place to place. Therefore, the two states in which residents are least likely to die in an MVA are New York and Massachusetts, ranked 49 and 50, respectively. The most dangerous state for car accident fatalities is also the most sparsely populated, Wyoming, with Mississippi and Montana rounding out the top three.
The statewide pattern for traffic fatalities in Idaho holds true to the national pattern; out of 232 total fatal crashes in 2016, 50 were urban and 182 were rural. However, the total number of crashes were greater in urban areas than in rural, as were the number of crashes that caused injury but not fatality.
2. Most Idaho Vehicle Deaths Happen During Warm-Weather
Again, this may seem counter-intuitive, as you might assume that the inclement weather that occurs during the winter months would contribute to more accidents and therefore more fatalities. Nevertheless, the data demonstrate that it is actually the warm-weather months, during spring and summer, in which most fatal car accidents in Idaho occur. Between 2006 and 2008, May proved to be the deadliest month for motor vehicle collisions in Idaho. In 2016, June had taken the dubious honor with 29 fatal crashes, nearly three times the number that occurred in January of the same year, which saw only 10 fatal crashes. December had the most fatal crashes of any winter month of 2016, with 13, but it is unknown whether impaired driving following holiday celebrations was a factor as month-by-month data on driver impairment is not available at this time.
3. Younger Drivers are at Greater Risk of a Crash
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Administration using data from 2014 and 2015, drivers age 16 to 17 in the United States are the most likely to cause a crash than any other age group. Drivers in the same age group are the most likely to cause an accident in which one or more person is injured, approximately 400 injury crashes per 100,000 miles driven, and 16- to 17-year-old’s are also the most likely to be injured in a crash, whether as a driver, passenger, or other party to the crash.
In Idaho, between 2006 and 2008, those between the ages of 15 and 24 accounted for 22.4 percent of all MVA deaths that took place in the state. Out of 159 young people who lost their lives in car accidents during that three-year time period, 114 were driving at the time of the accident and 45 were passengers.
4. Older Drivers are at Greatest Risk of a Fatal Crash
When it comes to fatal crashes, however, young drivers are outnumbered by drivers age 80 or more. The oldest drivers are the most likely to cause a fatal crash (with drivers age 16 to 17 a close second) and almost twice as likely to die in a fatal crash than drivers in the youngest age group.
5. Idaho Men are More Likely to Die in a Car Accident
From 2006 to 2008, the rate of men who died in a motor vehicle accident in Idaho per 100,000 people was 24.1, nearly twice the total for women during the same time period at 11.3. When further broken down by age, the number of young men and women under age 15 who died in car crashes was roughly equal, 26 and 25, respectively. Nor was there a wide discrepancy between men and women 65 and older who lost their lives in accidents; 78 men and 51 women. However, the number of men age 15 to 64 who were killed in MVAs (431) is nearly 2.5 times as many women who were killed (175) in the same age group during the same timeframe.
6. Distracted Driving is the #1 Cause of Injury Crashes in Idaho
According to the Idaho Transportation Department Office of Highway Safety, the number-one most cited contributing circumstance for crashes that injured, but not killed, one or more people in 2016 was distracted driving at 21 percent. The second most commonly cited contributing causes for Idaho injury crashes were failing to yield and following too closely, both at 14 percent.
There are many different distractions that a driver may face while driving, but perhaps the most prevalent is cell phone use. Alarmingly, more than 40 percent of drivers in a AAA study report having read a text or email while driving in the preceding 30 days, with 68.2 percent having talked on a cell phone while driving during that same timeframe. This despite of the fact that 91.7 percent of drivers in the same study considered distracted driving a “somewhat” or “much bigger” problem than it was five years ago.
Texting is probably the most dangerous form of cell phone use while driving. Not only does it absorb your mental focus and take your hands off the steering wheel, but it takes your eyes off the road. When traveling at 55 miles per hour, a car can travel the length of a football field in the 5 seconds it takes to look away from the road and read a short text message.
Nevertheless, experts believe that any sort of cell phone activity while driving has the potential to distract you from what you’re doing. Even hands-free innovations such as Bluetooth pose a risk because even though your hands are still on the wheel and your eyes are still on the road, your mind is not 100 percent focused on the task of driving.
7. Most Idaho Crashes Occur at Early Evening, Midday, and Morning
Car accidents in Idaho are least likely to happen between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. The most crashes happen around 5 p.m. and then drop off sharply until about 7 a.m. the next morning. The time period around noon and 1 p.m. is the second most common time for MVAs to occur in Idaho. The data suggest that the times when people are leaving for school or work in the morning and coming home in the evening, along with lunchtime, are the times when accidents are most likely to occur, perhaps because there are many vehicles on the road. The pattern for fatal accidents, however, is much less clear cut.
These statistics show that motor vehicle collisions figure prominently in the lives of many Idahoans, some of which are lost while others are changed forever. Therefore, it is important to talk to a car accident lawyer, such as those at The Idaho Advocates, if you feel justice has not been served following a collision.
What an Advocate Can Do For You
Statistics show that hiring a car accident lawyer significantly increases your chances of winning your personal injury case. In fact, with an accident attorney from The Idaho Advocates by your side, your case is 3.5 times more likely to settle than without having a personal injury attorney represent your case.
If you or a loved one have recently been injured in an accident due to another person’s negligence, it would be in your best interest to contact a car accident lawyer from The Idaho Advocates right away. Don’t wait. Call us today at (208) 291-5993 or speak with an attorney on our homepage.
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