Jainchill & Beckert, LLC

Driver fatalities rise along with the economy

Economic recovery in Connecticut and across the country could potentially have the side effect of a higher risk of death in a car accident. A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that as the economy improves, more drivers are taking the road, more frequently and more dangerously.

For 2014 car models, IIHS statistics showed a driver death rate of 30 per one million registered vehicle years. This was an increase from 28 per one million for 2011 automobiles. While improved technology and new vehicle designs have driven drops in vehicle deaths, discretionary driving has risen along with the number of jobs and the improved economy.

In fact, 2008, the year most associated with the economic crisis, showed a sharp dip in vehicular deaths. On the other hand, in 2015, vehicle deaths from car accidents climbed by 7 percent over the year before. Data has also indicated an increase for 2016. When the economy gets better and more people are working, people travel more for social events and vacations. Studies also show that better economic conditions can inspire faster driving.

One of the most significant links to an uptick in driving has been a decrease in the unemployment rate. A 1-percent dip in unemployment has come alongside a 2-percent increase in vehicle miles traveled, reflected in an identical increase in auto fatalities. However, when adjusted for the increase in driving, statistics show that only half of the impact on driver fatalities comes from simple increased driving.

The improved economy isn't just correlated with more driving or more discretionary driving. Instead, people take more risks when driving and are more likely to drive negligently. Distracted, dangerous and even drunk drivers can cause significant auto accidents that lead not only to fatalities, but also to severe personal injuries. Personal injury lawyers can provide important advice to accident victims about the potential to seek compensation for medical bills and other damages as a result of an auto crash caused by another.

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