2011 was one of the safest years on record, reflecting a 60-year low in traffic deaths. However, in 2012, safety officials have continued to be perplexed by the preliminary statistics for each quarter of this year. Initially, an alarming 13.5 increase in fatalities was noted, then a 4.7 increase in the second quarter, which seemed to indicate a leveling of numbers, and now reports of an estimated 7.1 percent increase for the first nine months of 2012 have been published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Unfortunately, more definitive numbers will not be published by NHTSA until late 2013, however, additional projections for the year, in totality, will be released in March.
Maine has not been immune from this phenomenon either. By August, the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety Department released early estimates showing a 50% increase in deaths from motor vehicle accidents over the same period in 2011. Sadly, as of November of 2012, we had already surpassed last year’s fatality rate of 137 deaths on our roadways. This has been a particularly deadly year for motorcyclists and pedestrians in Maine.
As a state and as a nation, we need to continue to develop and deploy more automated automobile crash notification systems, re-evaluate and improve our highways, make vehicles safer and restructure our legislative and insurance guidelines to ensure and promote good driving behaviors. The subjects of “distracted”, and “influenced” driving need to be more seriously addressed, as do the graduated licensing laws for teens and seniors, as well as national helmet laws for motorcyclists, in an effort to reduce the number of fatalities on our roadways each year.
All too often, we see the devastating effects of traffic accidents upon families. Please, drive responsibly, and report unsafe drivers to the authorities when seen upon our roadways. You just may save a life!
The CDC estimates the annual cost to Maine for traffic fatalities is approximately 159 million dollars. Drivers who behave negligently behind the wheel deserve to be penalized for their actions. If you, or a loved one, have been injured through no fault of your own and are in need of legal assistance, contact the experienced Maine Personal Injury and Wrongful Death attorneys at Briggs & Wholey, LLC for advice and counsel at (888) 596-1099 or via www.personal-injury-lawyers.com
Photo Credit: Jusben, Morguefile