Despite today’s cars being the safest that have ever been on America’s roads, fatal car crashes are at the highest level since 2005 and are increasing rapidly each year. When someone is killed in a crash caused by the negligent actions of another driver, that person’s survivors can sometimes file a wrongful death suit to recover damages for their loss. We take a look at why deadly crashes are happening more often and explain how our Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers can help you hold the negligent party responsible for their actions.
Why the Recent Increase in Fatal Car Crashes?
Nearly 43,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes across the country in 2021, a 10 percent increase from 2020 and an 18 percent increase since 2019. This is the highest two-year increase since the period between 1944 and 1946. However, we are not a nation welcoming soldiers back from war, and we have not seen the drastic increase in cars on the road we saw after the war. We are also driving cars that have safety features that could not have even been imagined by drivers in the 1940s. So why are we seeing such an increase in fatal crashes?
Researchers are not entirely sure why more crashes are proving to be deadly in recent years, but they have some theories. Yes, cars have safety features such as airbags, automatic braking, lane centering, rearview cameras, and more, but other features of new cars might be offsetting the benefits of these technologies. That, combined with driver behaviors we have not seen in the past, could account for the increase. Factors that seem to be contributing to recent fatal crashes include:
- Heavier vehicles. You might think that the boats of the 50s and the muscle cars of the 70s were heavier than today’s new cars, but, in fact, the weight of vehicles is at an all-time high. With more consumers choosing pick-up trucks and SUVs, vehicle size has become a problem on our roads. Even electric vehicles, though generally smaller than their gas-powered counterparts, have very heavy batteries on board. When one of these heavier vehicles hits a smaller car—or even worse, a pedestrian—the crash is very likely to be deadly.
- Increased horsepower. Today’s high-performing cars also have horsepower we have not seen before. The increased power means faster acceleration and higher speeds, both of which can lead to deadly crashes. Even some electric vehicles can accelerate at the speed of a sports car.
- More distractions. Cell phones have caused problems for drivers for years, but it seems that driver confidence in their ability to multi-task behind the wheel is higher than ever. Even with hands-free options for talking and texting, drivers are so distracted that they often fail to react in time to avoid slowed or stopped vehicles.
- Anger and aggression. There’s no denying that people are angry these days. Whether it’s work stress, covid frustration, or political divisions, people are taking out their aggression on other drivers now more than ever. An increasing lack of concern for other people in general and on the road specifically means more careless and reckless driving accidents.
- More miles driven. Problems with air travel have forced more people to turn to their cars for vacations, family reunions, and work trips. The more cars on the road and the farther they are driving, the higher the chance that there will be a crash.
Whatever caused the crash that killed your loved one, if another driver is to blame, you might be able to file a claim for wrongful death damages.