Those who have felt like driving seems more dangerous recently aren’t just imagining things. According to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concerning collisions in 2021 and 2022, motor vehicle accident fatalities have been on the rise across the country.
The NHTSA estimates that the region including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, as well as Wisconsin and Minnesota, saw an estimated 8% increase in traffic fatalities from the first quarter of 2021 compared with the first quarter of 2022. Some states have seen a more drastic increase than others.
For example, in Illinois, traffic fatalities increased by more than 22% in this timeframe, while in Michigan, the increase was less than 1.5%. Despite the fluctuation across states, most of the region has seen noteworthy increases in crashes and traffic deaths. Why are more collisions occurring than in previous years?
Drivers make unsafe choices at higher rates
According to research from Illinois specifically, three different kinds of questionable traffic behaviors directly contributed to the state’s significant uptick in collision fatalities. Police officers responding to collisions have noted a marked increase in crashes related to excessive speeding. There have also been more collisions caused by distracted driving and intoxication at the wheel in recent years.
Drivers, possibly lulled into a false sense of security through increased safety technology and the downward trends in crash rates previously reported, have begun engaging in unsafe driving behaviors at unprecedented rates. More people driving after drinking is a major safety concern, as is an increase in how many people permit distraction while driving.
How can people protect themselves?
Those concerned about their increased risk of a traffic collision can protect themselves in a few different ways. They can invest in vehicles with better collision ratings to promote improved outcomes if a crash does occur. However, most importantly, drivers should exercise defensive driving techniques, leave on time for their destination to avoid speeding and keep their full focus on the roads, rather than becoming distracted.
Tracking changes in motor vehicle crash rates can help those worried about their safety while in traffic, as doing so can help them make informed choices when traveling. Of course, car accidents can occur no matter how safe and cautious you are behind the wheel. Should this happen, it can be helpful to understand your legal options.