The National Safety Council reports the country is already on pace to outpace the number of serious and fatal car accidents reported last year. Through August, a total of 21,560 motorists were killed, compared to 20,200 for the same period last year.
In Pennsylvania, deaths are up sharply: from 791 last year to 870 this year. New York’s report is no better: 696 this year, compared to 613 last year. Our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers expect those dangers to increase as we head through the remainder of the year and the year-end holiday season.
The estimated cost of motor-vehicle deaths, injuries and property damages through August was $157 billion. In 2o1o, nearly 33,000 people were killed and more than 2.2 million were injured in a total of almost 5.5 million auto accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Autumn, and the trio of year-end holidays, is typically the deadliest time of the year for a host of reasons:
Daylight Savings Time: The clock change puts many of us making the afternoon commute at dusk, or even after dark. Thus, the risks increase for drowsy driving accidents, bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents.
Drunk Driving: The link between football and drunk driving is not a tenuous one. The two go hand-in-hand. Add to that the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and just shake and stir for disaster. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports more than 10,000 motorists each year are killed in an accident involving a driver who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs — accounting for one-third of all traffic fatalities nationwide.
Deer: These accidents are no laughing matter. State Farm Insurance reports more than 1 million of these crashes occur each year, claiming at least 200 lives on average. The most serious injuries typically occur when a driver loses control of the vehicle and drives off the road or into oncoming traffic. More than 115,000 deer accidents in Pennsylvania occur each year. That’s more than anywhere else in the nation.
Pedestrian Accidents: From back-to-school to Halloween and the busy holiday shopping season, the end of the year is a dangerous time for pedestrian accidents, including those that occur in parking lots or in school zones.
Aggressive Driving: We are all aware of the risk of some lunatic wielding a crossbow on the Interstate. But the truth of the matter is that most of us are guilty of milder forms of aggressive driving, which are nonetheless increasing our risk of being involved in an accident. The busy holiday season and the onset of winter driving can increase both frustration and risk. Speeding, sudden lane changes, tailgating, failure to obey traffic control devices and driving too fast for conditions are all examples of aggressive driving.
Winter Weather: Do yourself a favor. Make an appointment to get your car serviced. Check your tires, your radiator and your battery. Put a set of jumper cables, an ice scraper, and some emergency supplies in your trunk. Being prepared for bad weather can also reduce your risks of an accident.
If you’ve been injured in Philadelphia, Bucks County or the surrounding area, call Flager & Associates at 1-215-953-5200 for a confidential consultation.