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Accidents are a cruel reality of traveling on the road. With millions upon millions of cars on United States roads each and every day, car crashes are bound to happen. Statistics show that the average driver will be involved in at least one accident every 17 years. This, of course, means being in an accident isn’t a matter of if, but when.
Indeed, according to recent surveys, such as the annual report compiled by the Washington State Department of Transportation, car accidents are on the rise in both Washington State and everywhere else in the United States. Though there is no one reason for the recent uptick in car accidents, additional cars on the road, an increase in elderly drivers, etc., drivers should remain vigilant while on the road by driving defensively and always wearing a seat belt. An additional precaution drivers would be wise to take is to add Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to their insurance policy. PIP is relatively affordable and extremely helpful if you do one day find yourself in an accident.
Traffic Fatality Rates (per 100M Vehicle Miles Traveled)
- U.S. Fatality Rate
- WA Fatality Rate
- U.S. Fatality Rate
- WA Fatality Rate
The unfortunate reality of traveling by car today isn’t so much if you’ll be involved in an accident, but when. Nor does there appear to be a silver bullet to avoid this rise in accidents. As the accompanying chart shows, commuters of every variety are vulnerable. The year 2015 saw a rise in fatalities for every category of commuter. Fatalities for WA Drivers rose from 224 in 2014 to 263 just a year later. For Occupants there was an increase from 84 in 2014 to 115 in 2015. This trend continued for Motorcyclists (69 up to 73), Pedestrians (78 to 86), and even doubled for Bicyclists (7 to 14). The National Safety Council attributes the rise in motor vehicle accidents to th “continued lower gasoline prices and an improving economy resulting in an estimated increase in motor-vehicle mileage” (National Safety Council, 2017).
Considering that Washington State has one of the most vibrant economies in the country, this rise is sure to affect Washington motorists. In addition, drivers throughout the Pacific Northwest must contend with a host of other driving hazards: inclement weather, narrow bridges and tunnels, steep hills, as well as the all too common texting drivers. Traveling on Washington roads requires more than mere defensive driving. Statistics show that even the most vigilant of drivers will one day be involved in an accident. It’s just a matter of time.
Washington Fatal Collisions
Each year, dozens of reasons are cited as the cause of accidents. As reported in the Washington State 2015 Annual Collision Summary, driver inattention and distraction (46,348) was far and away the most common cause of most collisions, followed by speeding (19,662), failure to yield (18,876), and following too closely (17,765). Unsurprisingly, alcohol and/or drug use while operating a vehicle was the leading cause of all fatal collisions (237) by a substantial margin. However, there are plenty of other reasons for automobile collisions. The table below shows the top causes of all accidents in Washington as well as their frequency of occurrence reported in 2015:
|Failure to Yield Right-of-Way to Motor Vehicle||18,876||34||211||5,579||12,968||84|
|Following too Closely||18,765||2||61||6,188||12,452||62|
|Under Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs||6,033||237||299||2,011||3,386||100|
|Disregard Stop Signs/Red Beacon||1,450||12||38||587||791||22|
|Over Center Line||1,274||53||63||446||684||28|
|Failure to Yield Right-of-Way to Non Motorist||857||11||54||767||24||1|
|Disregard Yield/Yellow Beacon||132||0||1||38||92||1|
|Failing to Signal||132||1||1||50||80||0|
|Improper Parking Location||43||0||3||10||29||1|
|Disregard Flagger Officer||34||0||1||9||23||1|
Though you can never fully remove the risk of being in an automobile accident, there are a number of precautions you can take to lower your risk. For starters, never driver while inebriated. When in doubt, take a taxi or a Lyft. Drinking and driving is never a good idea. Deciding to get behind the wheel while inebriated could very well be the last decision you make or leave you regretting it for the rest of your life. Do yourself the favor and don’t take the risk.
Secondly, you should always wear your seat belt while riding in a vehicle. Whether you are driving or sitting in the back, a seat belt could very well save your life. Statistics compiled by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shown that “more than half of the people killed in car crashes were not restrained at the time of the crash” (CDC). Despite this, according to those same statistics, nearly 1 and 7 people do not use seat belts when they ride in a vehicle. Buckling up can really save your life.
Finally, drive defensively. Follow the posted speed limits, yield when you can, and be attentive to your surroundings. Remember that just because you are paying attention to the road, doesn’t mean other drivers are too. Driving is likely more dangerous than any other activity you perform in a day, so try to do it with extreme caution.
Below is a list of accident facts compiled by the Washington State Department of Transportation for the year of 2015:
• A crash occurs every 4 ½ minutes in the state of Washington
• One person dies in a crash every 16 hours
• A person was injured in a collision every 11 minutes
• There is a motorcyclist crash once every 4 hours
• A pedestrian or a bicyclist is involved in a collision every 2 ½ hours
• One pedestrian or bicyclist is killed in a crash every 4 days
• A speeding driver is involved in a crash every 27 minutes
• A collision due to an inattentive/distracted driver occurs every 12 minutes
• One person is killed by an impaired driver every 1½ days
Source: CLAS (WSDOT) and FARS (WTSC)
If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, an Advocate attorney could help you get back on the road to recovery. Our firm has decades of experience negotiating fair settlements from insurance adjusters, recovering lost wages, and managing the medical recovery process. We can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to from your car accident. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about your case. Call today for a free consultation. Our lawyers work on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if you do. So call us today at (206) 962-5079 for a free consultation or chat immediately online with a lawyer!. It may be the best decision you make about your car accident.
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