Traffic deaths in Maryland and nationwide continue to plummet. Why has this happened and will it continue?

When your business is representing families and individuals in car and truck crash cases, you end up following the nation's trends in matters such as crash safety and traffic fatalities. For the most part, this is a rewarding pasttime as traffic deaths have continuously fallen in Maryland and nationwide for a number of years.

The latest data for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration continues this hopeful trend as auto crash deaths reached a new low with a 2% overall decline from 2010. The state of Maryland saw 11 fewer fatalities in 2011, while the District of Columbia saw a death decline as well.

So why is this happening? Obviously, the answers are complex but the bottom-line is that a confluence of factors have come together to reduce car crash deaths.

The first category to which safer roads is attributed to is the increasing prevalence of modern safety equipment In catastrophic crashes which formerly would have proven deadly, air bags now save many lives. The nation's fleet of vehicles turns over every year with modern air bag equipped vehicles replacing older air bagless cars.

In a similar vein, modern cars have better safety belts, stability controls and anti-lock brakes. The driving public also appears more inclined to utilize seat belts. Any reader of this website is aware that routinely, deadly car and truck crashes  feature passengers and drivers failing to wear their seat belts and often include alcohol, speed and youth.

The second significant variable involves substantial decreases in alcohol impaired driving and distracted driving.

We have railed against distracted driving in this website and between increased public awareness of this problem and new laws prohibitting texting and distracted driving there obviously has been some appreciable effect.

So, can this continue? The answer clearly seems to be yes. Since traffic fatalities peaked six years ago efforts at identifying how to reduce them have borne fruit. Laws aimed at reducing alcohol and drug impaired driving appeared to have been successful. The "click it or ticket" campaigns have increased overall seat belt usage rates and new laws mandating more extensive driver training for new drivers have pushed back the average age of new drivers.

New safety technolgy continues to abound and once more widespread enforcement of distracted driver laws comes into play the possibilities for further reduced traffic fatalities is likely.

Robert V. Clark
Maryland Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer