Report: complacency contributes to increase in fatal crashes

Just about every trip we make in our car proves to be uneventful. We get from point A to point B without incident most of the time, which probably makes people across Kentucky feel incredibly safe. Add in the fact that cars have more safety features than ever and it makes sense that people probably assume the roads are the safest they have ever been.

However, according to recent data, that's not exactly accurate. In fact, for the first time in 10 years, the number of fatalities on U.S. roads surpassed 40,000. Below, we examine some reasons for this increase as well as what it means for Kentucky drivers in the year ahead.

The National Safety Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both reported significant increases in fatal crashes during 2016, estimating a rise of somewhere between six and eight percent when compared to 2015.

This rise could be partially linked to increased -- and inflated -- feelings of safety. As noted in this Bloomberg article, people feel so secure behind the wheel these days that they are making some bad choices like:

  • Texting and driving
  • Not wearing their seat belt
  • Speeding
  • Driving while impaired

These are all behaviors that drivers know are dangerous. In fact, these represent some of the most basic lessons we learn when we get a license: wear a seat belt, obey the speed limit, stay sober and pay attention.

However, as a chief executive of the National Safety Council stated, "complacency is killing us."

What this all means for drivers here in Kentucky is that many drivers know they are being reckless and negligent, and these drivers are causing more accidents. They are knowingly putting their lives and the lives of others in danger.

This is why it is crucial that victims of crashes and their families hold drivers accountable for damages suffered in a crash. Taking legal action can reinforce the message that dangerous drivers should be liable when they hurt and/or kill others. Without this, people can remain complacent and a threat to the safety of others.

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