The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released its 2012 Fatality Analysis Reporting data. Unfortunately, after six consecutive years of declining fatalities on U.S. highways, the data indicates that highway crashes and deaths increased in 2012. Specifically, fatalities increased to 33,561 in 2012, which is 1,082, (or 3.3%) more fatalities than in 2011. In addition, the number of injured persons increased by 145,000 from 2011. Almost three-quarters of the fatalities occurred in the first three months of 2012, and most of those individuals involved in the fatalities were motorcyclists and pedestrians. For the first half of 2013, early estimates on crash fatalities reveal a decrease in deaths for the same time period in 2012.
Notably, the increase in crashes and resulting injuries and fatalities does not appear to be associated with one particular issue, and crashes for some traditional risk factors, including young drivers, actually fell in 2012. Other notable statistics include:
• There were 10 times as many unhelmeted motorcyclist fatalities in states, such as Texas, without universal helmet laws (1,858 unhelmeted fatalities) as in states with universal helmet laws (178 unhelmeted fatalities). These states were nearly equivalent in total resident populations.
• Though fatalities from alcohol-impaired driving increased from 2011 to 2012, fatalities from crashes involving young drivers (16- to 20-year olds) and alcohol decreased by 15%.
• For the past decade, males have consistently made up about 70% of motor vehicle fatalities.
• There was a 3.7% increase in the number of people killed in crashes involving large trucks, and 61% of large-truck occupants killed in 2012 died in single-vehicle crashes.
Overall, while 13 states experienced decreases in overall traffic fatalities and eighteen states experienced decreases in drunk driving deaths, Texas was not part of either group. In fact, Texas had the largest increase in fatalities of any state, with an 11% increase in overall traffic fatalities and 6.6% increase in drunk driving deaths.
Updated 5-Star Safety Ratings Program
Given the number of people injured and killed in car accidents each year, the safety of automobiles is important. In fact, many buyers rely on safety rating programs when choosing their next vehicles. One such rating program is the NHTSA’s safety ratings, which as one of the most trusted and reliable sources of safety ratings for the public, provides car buyers with comprehensive safety information when shopping for new and used vehicles.
In November 2013, the NHTSA released its most recent safety ratings for vehicle manufacturers, dealers, and advertising agencies. Each year, the NHTSA announces a lineup of model year passenger vehicles that will be tested as part of the agency’s 5-star rating program, testing those vehicles with the highest sales volumes. For 2014, the NHTSA will rate approximately 87% of 2014 model year vehicles that will be sold in the U.S. for frontal and side collision protection and 92% for rollover resistance. Of the 48 vehicles included in the rating system, there are 22 passenger vehicles (including 2-door, 4-door, hatchbacks, and station wagons), 18 sport utility vehicles, 5 pickups, and 3 vans, and various makes and models.
The agency also unveiled updated advertising guidelines aimed at help to ensure that consumers receive accurate and consistent information regarding vehicle safety ratings. According to a press release issued by the NHTSA, the updated guidelines now explicitly states that ratings are always whole numbers and that the NHTSA does not award a rating higher than 5. As a result, manufacturers and advertising agencies should not advertise ratings with decimal points or ratings over 5. This means that any advertisements that claim more than five star ratings is misleading the public. Those advertisements that do not conform to the guidelines may result in “Buyer Alert” warnings, removal from the ratings programs, or referral to other federal or state authorities for appropriate action.
As you can see, traffic crashes remain a major cause of injury and death for Texas citizens. If you, your family or friends have been involved in a motor vehicle accidents and sustained injuries at the hands of a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the San Antonio personal injury attorneys at Carabin & Shaw today. Our Law Firm always offers a free initial consultation on all cases and we are only paid if we win, which means that there is never a fee unless we successfully resolve your case.
NHTSA Announces Model Year 2014 Vehicles to be Rated Under Government 5-Star Safety Ratings Program, U.S. Department of Transportation
NHTSA Data Confirms Traffic Fatalities Increased In 2012, U.S. Department of Transportation
New Traffic Laws in Effect in Texas, November 11, 2013, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog
Pedestrian Fatality Rates for the State of Texas and Various Texas Cities Grim, September 22, 2013