Why Are Philadelphia Drivers Facing Higher Rates of Car Accidents?

December 23rd, 2015

In 2015, there was a 4.4 percent rise in fatality rates in motor vehicle crashes, based on preliminary data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This 4.4 percent rise increased from a fatality rate of 1.07 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2014. There has also been an 8.1 percent increase in people dying in collisions in motor vehicles in 2015 compared with in 2014, when there were 32,675 people killed in crashes over the year.

car accidentDrivers in Philadelphia should know there were more car crashes, so they can make sure to try to take extra precautions to drive assertively, avoid high-risk situations, and avoid behaviors which contribute to collision risks. It is important to understand the causes of increases in car accident fatalities.

Explaining Nationwide Rise in Car Accidents

Wall Street Journal provides a comprehensive article on rising car accident death rates over the course of 2015 compared with in the prior year. There are myriad potential explanations justifying why more people died in motor vehicle accidents this year compared with a year ago.

Travel has increased, which translates to more motorists- and more people always means more crashes. There was a 3.54 percent rise in travel in the first part of this year, and a record was reached with 1.54 trillion miles traveled only in the first half of 2015. Population growth could help to partly explain why so many more miles were driven from January to June. However, while the miles driven increased dramatically this year, the total miles driven has barely increased from a prior record in 2007 despite the fact the population has increased 6.6 percent over this period of time.

Gas prices have fallen dramatically in the past year, falling to the lowest levels since 2010. In the first half of 2015, there was also a fall in the unemployment rate down to 5.1 percent. This means a couple of different things, all of which contribute to higher crashes. First, more people are commuting and using their cars to get to work, which drives up miles driven and which drives up crash rates. Lower unemployment also makes it easier for teens to get jobs, which gives them more gas money and also necessitates they commute as well. Increasing young drivers on the roads is always going to increase crash rates, since this demographic group is the most likely to get into accidents.

Industry experts, however, are not all convinced changing economic indicators were the cause of the rise in car accident fatalities. Some, including Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet, argue texting is the cause of the increased crash risk. Distracted driving is on-the-rise, and one in four fatal crashes involves cell phone use now. Berkshire Hathaway owns Geico, which is raising premiums along with Allstate to account for higher-crash risks.

Whether texting or an increased number of drivers or other factors are the cause, it is important for motorists to do what they can to try to reverse the rise in the car accident death toll. This means making informed, smart decisions about operating their vehicles in a safe and responsible way going forward into the new year.

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