It usually takes a full year until you can learn the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration's final
motor vehicle accident statistics. However, once they are released, they can provide some helpful
This is the case in the NHTSA report,
2013 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview, which was released in December. The report features a compilation of
statistics and brief analysis of the final traffic crash statistics from 2013.
The news was good - and, in some areas, bad.
The Good News
According to the NHTSA 2013 Motor Vehicle Crash Report, overall motor vehicle
accident fatalities decreased by 3.1 percent between 2012 and 2013. This
continued a positive trend in which traffic crash deaths have declined
by 25 percent over the past 10 years. Additionally, the NHTSA reports
that accident-related injuries fell by 2.1 percent.
"Fatalities and injuries declined in almost all segments of the population
- passenger vehicle occupants, large-truck occupants, pedestrians, young
drivers, and with alcohol-impaired driving fatalities," the report states.
In particular, there was a significant drop in
motorcycle accident fatalities, especially those involving older drivers. Motorcycle crash
deaths fell 6.4 percent - 318 fewer lives lost - between 2012 and 2013,
according to the agency. Among motorcyclists between the ages of 50 and
69, there were 190 fewer deaths, accounting for 60 percent of the total
drop in motorcycle accident fatalities.
It was also encouraging to see a decrease in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities
(crashes involving a driver with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher).
The total number of
drunk driving accident deaths dropped 2.5 percent, while the number of motorcycle crash fatalities
involving alcohol-impaired drivers decreased significantly - by 8.3 percent.
The Bad News
The bad news is that Florida saw a drop in fatal traffic accidents at a
rate lower than the national average in 2013 - and the state's total
number of crash fatalities still remains one of the highest in the country.
According to the NHTSA 2013 Motor Vehicle Crash Report, Florida's total
crash deaths fell by 1.0 percent - compared to the 3.1 percent national
rate. Additionally, the state's total number of fatalities (2,407)
ranked No. 3 in the country behind only Texas (3,382) and California (3,000).
Additionally, even though Florida's drunk driving accident fatalities
decreased by 4.7 percent - above the national rate of 2.5 percent - the
state still had the third-highest total number of drunk driving deaths
in 2013 with 676. Only Texas (1,337) and California (867) had more.
Four other items from the NHTSA report fall into the "bad news" category:
Fatal accidents involving "pedalcyclists" - bicycle riders -
actually increased by 1.2 percent between, going from 734 in 2012 to 743
in 2013. In fact, the
bicycle accidents category was the only major accident type to see an increase in fatalities.
- The total number of police-reported motor vehicle accidents actually increased
by 1.3 percent - due mainly to a 2.9 percent spike in property damage-only
crashes. (This may indicate that cars are safer, leading to fewer deaths
and injuries when wrecks occur, but people are not driving any safer).
- Additionally, a high number of passenger vehicle occupants were killed
in crashes who were not wearing seatbelts. The NHTSA reports that 49 percent
of passenger vehicle occupants who died in crashes were "unrestrained."
However, in 2015, we can vow to turn this bad news into good news. For
instance, the coming year can be dedicated to increasing awareness about
motorists' need to "share the road" with bicycle riders,
encourage seat belt use and promote safe driving habits overall.
If you or a loved one is injured in a car or other motor vehicle accident,
you can also vow to protect your rights by
contacting an experienced attorney.