2015 is on pace to be one of the deadliest years on record in terms of traffic fatalities. With most experts pointing to three primary factors that are likely to carry into next year, 2016 could be a dangerous year for motorists as well. Here in Massachusetts, we are not immune to these factors, and we have seen numerous fatal car accidents over just the past few months. At Law Office of John J. Sheehan, we are passionate about helping victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve.
Read more about our services for families of victims of fatal car accidents.
Experts Point to Three Main Causes of Increased Traffic Fatalities
The increase in fatal car accidents has made national headlines in 2015 – with Newsweek, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal all writing feature articles on the possible causes of the rising death toll. In addition, the National Safety Council released a report in September that highlights the year-over-year increase in fatalities.
So, why the sudden increase traffic deaths? Experts are pointing to three primary factors:
- Low gas prices
- Improving job numbers
- Texting behind the wheel
How Low Gas Prices Lead to More Traffic Fatalities
Many experts say that the rise in traffic deaths is largely attributable to the simple fact that there are more cars on the road. If you think about it, this makes sense: The more traffic there is, the more likely it is that there are going to be traffic-related accidents. But, this begs the question: Why are there more cars on the road in 2015?
One major reason is the sharp decline in gas prices. At the beginning of October 2015, the average price of a gallon of gas in Massachusetts was $2.20. In October 2014, it was $3.39. This 50 percent drop is enough to get more people driving to vacation and going other places behind the wheel. With many forecasters predicting that oil prices will continue to drop before going back up, we may continue to see low gas prices in 2016.
The Job Economy Plays a Role as Well
Another factor that is likely to continue into 2016 is the improved job economy. As we climb out of the Recession that started in 2007, more people are going back to work. Not only does this create an increased risk for work-related accidents, but it also means more people are on the road.
The third major factor that experts say is leading to an increased number of traffic fatalities is the fact that more and more people are texting while driving. Despite the fact that several states (although Massachusetts is not currently one of them) have laws against handheld cell phone use, this does not stop many drivers from texting, Tweeting, Instagramming, and Facebooking behind the wheel.
With cell phone use being responsible for 27 percent of all vehicle collisions, as congestion rises, it stands to reason that more people will die as a result of texting in the driver’s seat.
Massachusetts Fatal Car Accidents on the Rise
Massachusetts Car Accident Fatalities are on the Rise
The National Safety Council’s data show that, unfortunately, Massachusetts is not bucking the trend when it comes to car accident fatalities. While the number of deaths during the first six months of the year rose two percent from 2014 to 2015, this year’s number is 21 percent above the death toll in the first half of 2013.
New reports from the second half of the year suggest that 2015’s death toll is continuing to rise on a near-daily basis.
Recent Car Accident Fatalities in Massachusetts
The following is a list of some of the recent fatal car accidents in the Boston area and throughout Massachusetts:
- In September, a 65-year old woman was killed in a four-vehicle crash on Interstate 95 in Mansfield. She was a passenger in an SUV that rolled over after being struck by another vehicle whose driver had lost control.
- In September, two people died in a fiery crash in Lowell, MA. Police are still investigating, although it does not appear that a second vehicle was involved.
- In September, a tractor trailer driver was killed when he lost control in heavy rain on Interstate 95 in Lexington.
- In October, a 51-year-old woman was killed in an accident on Route 2 in Shelburne when she was rear-ended by a man who has now been charged with drunk driving.
Sadly, we know that there are going to be more fatal car accidents in 2015, 2016, and beyond. The only questions are where, when, and why. If you have lost a loved one in a Massachusetts car accident, our attorneys can help you fight for just compensation.
Speak with a Boston Car Accident Lawyer Today
Law Office of John J. Sheehan is a Boston personal injury and wrongful death law firm that represents clients throughout Massachusetts. Our attorneys have decades of experience, and are committed to helping accident victims recover the largest possible settlements and verdicts for their losses. We offer free consultations on your schedule, and if you can’t come to us we are more than happy to come to you. To find out if you have a case, you can contact us online or call 617-925-6407 today.