By Duncan Garnett.
The number of traffic deaths and injuries are up by 7.2 percent, according to the US Department of Transportation. It’s more dangerous than ever to on the road. Are you likely to get hurt in an auto accident? Check out these danger factors to see if they fit you.
- You are a young guy or an old-timer, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). At all ages, men had higher per capita crash death rates than women in 2015. Males ages 20-24 and 85 and older had the highest rates of crash deaths, and women ages 12 and younger had the lowest rate.
- You are crossing a street on foot in Washington, DC. 15 percent of crash fatalities in 2015 were pedestrians. Pedestrian accidents are up nationwide by 9.5 percent. The percentage of pedestrian deaths was highest in Washington, DC.
- You drive in one of the 9 most dangerous states: Most fatal vehicle crashes occurred in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.
- You use a cell phone for any reason while driving. Drivers using mobile phones are 4 times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers not using a mobile phone, according to the World Health Organization. Hands-free phones are not much safer and texting considerably increases the risk of a crash.
- You drive a pickup truck in a rural area. Pickup truck, vans, and SUV occupant fatalities increased by 4.7 percent. Wyoming and North Dakota had the highest percentage of deaths involving occupants of SUVs and pickups.
- You drive on the fatal 5 days of the year: July 4, August 2, November 1, October 11, and January 1, according to the IIHS.
- You drive during the deadly hours of the day: 3 pm to 9 pm. Saturday is the most dangerous day.
- You drive more than 55. Fatalities in speeding-related crashes increased by 3 percent. Speeding where the limit was 55 mph was a contributing factor in 48 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths, according to the DOT.
- You ride a motorcycle without a helmet. The proportion of motorcyclist fatalities increased to 14 percent in 2015. In states without universal helmet laws, 58 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2015 were not wearing helmets, as compared to 8 percent in states with universal helmet laws.
- You drive high or drunk. About one-third (29 percent) of the total fatalities were in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. In the case of drink-driving, the risk of a road traffic crash starts at low levels of blood alcohol concentration and increases significantly when the driver’s BAC is more than 0.04. In the case of drug-driving, for example, the risk of a fatal crash occurring among those who have used amphetamines is about 5 times the risk of someone who hasn’t
- You don’t wear a seatbelt. 88.5 percent of drivers do wear seat belts all the time. But almost half (48 percent) of passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in 2015 did not wear a seat belt.
Duncan Garnett is an owner of Patten Wornom Hatten & Diamonstein LC in Norfolk, Virginia. If you or someone you know was hurt or killed in a traffic accident, please contact him on his direct line at (757) 233-4550 or via email at DGarnett@pwhd.com.