Report: Severe crashes increasing across the nation and in Kentucky

Traffic deaths, injuries and costs rose markedly between the first half of 2014 and 2015, and negligent driving behaviors may be a contributing factor.

In 2014, more than 151,000 motor vehicle accidents occurred throughout Kentucky, according to a report from the Kentucky State Police. Over 22,000 of these accidents caused injuries, and 620 resulted in fatalities. Unfortunately, a recent report indicates that these serious accidents pose a growing threat to drivers in Louisville. According to the National Safety Council, Kentucky ranks among a majority of states that have seen increases in fatal accidents this year.

Steep injury and fatality rates

Newsweek states that, across the nation, accident rates increased noticeably between the first six months of 2014 and the same portion of 2015. Accidents resulting in "serious injuries," or injuries that require medical attention, increased 30 percent. Fatal car accidents rose 14 percent, and the costs associated with both types of crashes jumped 24 percent. Altogether, from January to June 2015, almost 19,000 deaths and over 2.3 million serious injuries occurred.

It's important to note that these figures don't encompass the summer months and September, which tend to have high fatality rates. The NSC expects that total traffic fatalities across the country may exceed 40,000 this year. This would be the highest figure recorded since 2007.

Causative factors

The NSC has identified several potential reasons for the rise in serious crashes. With the economy rebounding, more people are employed and commuting. Gas prices have also fallen. Overall, people are driving more miles on average than last year. This may inevitably raise the risk of accidents and lead to a larger overall number of crashes.

Unfortunately, though, the available data shows that traffic fatalities are rising even when adjusted for this increased amount of driving. The number of fatalities per 100 million miles of travel has risen 8 percent. The number of deaths per 100,000 drivers has increased more than 12 percent. To explain this increase, the NSC points to the following dangerous driving habits:

According to U.S. News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has similarly identified several negligent behaviors that may be causing the jump in accidents. These include texting and other distractions, drowsy driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The presence of more teen drivers on the road, which is likely due to the decrease in gas prices, may also be a contributing factor.

Options for victims

Sadly, these statistics suggest that accidents involving various reckless behaviors may harm many people in Kentucky this year. It is important for people who have been injured or lost loved ones in these accidents to understand that legal remedies may be available. If an accident involved negligence, victims may be able to recover various forms of compensation. To learn more, victims may want to speak to an auto accident attorney about seeking recourse.