During the first quarter of 2012 auto accidents, truck accidents, and all vehicle related accidental deaths rose by 13.5%. This alarming increase was the largest number since 2008. These numbers were reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as an estimate based on their data. NHTSA stated that the rate of traffic related deaths per 100 million miles of auto, truck, etc., travel jumped substantially. The NHTSA estimate would predict that 7,630 people died in vehicle accidents in the first 3 months, which is above the 6,720 deaths in the first quarter of 2011.
NHTSA speculated that a reason for the increase might by the warm winter that just passed since first quarter highway deaths are usually lower than the last nine months of the same year generally because there is less driving in the winter. A spokesperson for the Governors Highway Safety Association found the NHTSA estimates disappointing. They further speculated that the strengthening economy was also a factor. I don't know that all economists will agree our economy is improving in light of the unemployment rate, and housing disaster.
As a Palm Spring personal injury lawyer I am aware of last quarter's recent increase in Coachella Valley wrongful death claims. I don't blame the warmer winter or supposed uptick in the economy. I read our desert traffic accident reports that we gather for our auto accident clients. Many more of our Palm Springs auto accidents are caused by cell phone use. We have an epidemic of distracted drivers in the valley. Next time you are at a stop at a traffic signal look to your right and left and notice the cell phone users. You know that person ahead of you at the red light who doesn't move forward on the green signal. I guarantee you the odds are that person is a distracted driver talking, reading, or texting on a cell phone.
So I am sad to say that I predict that the number of traffic fatalities will increase dramatically as cell phone use increases. There is a new law going into effect in January 2013 that makes it legal to read and send email while driving with a hands free voice activated cell phone device. Amazing stupidity evidenced by our California Legislators. I can't even guess what lobby group was behind that legislation. Call a lawyer at Barry Regar APLC for any traffic accident related issues. Stay off the cell phone when driving and help bring the traffic related death toll down.