Traffic fatality rates across the United States have been on the rise for several years now. Oregon, too, has seen increases, and all road users at put in danger by this concerning trend. Luckily, the use of simple safety measures can dramatically reduce one’s chances of being involved in an accident, as well as the severity of injuries which are sustained in an accident. Be sure to contact an experienced Portland car accident attorney as soon as possible after any accident. You have legal rights which must be protected.
How Oregon Fatality Trends Compare to the Nation
According to The Washington Post , 2011 saw the lowest number of traffic fatalities ever recorded in the United States. This was a result of fewer vehicles being on the road after the economic crash of 2008. As drivers returned to the road again, traffic accident rates began to rise again. Unfortunately, traffic fatalities have been steadily climbing ever since. 2016 traffic data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed a continuation of the trend of increased traffic fatalities. A 5.4% increase placed the total number of fatality victims over thirty-seven thousand. Now, in 2017, more than eighteen thousand people died on the roads of America between January 1 and June 31. Another 2.1 million people were seriously injured in car accidents during that same time period.
Oregon, too, has seen recent rises in fatal traffic accidents. The Oregon Department of Transportation reports that 2015 saw a nearly 30% in fatalities from the previous year. And before the DOT released its official 2016 data, The Northwest News Network had already declared it the deadliest year since 2003.
What Oregon Drivers Can Do to Protect Themselves
Despite these concerning statistics, there are simple things Oregon drivers can do to dramatically reduce their odds of being fatally injured in a car accident. Speeding is a significant predictor of fatal injuries. The World Health Organization reports that an injury victim is twenty times more likely to die in an impact at 80 kilometers per hour than impact at 30 kilometers per hour. Reducing speed is more than a simple safety precaution – it is also a legal obligation under Oregon state law. Section 811.100 of the Oregon Revised Statutes prohibits drivers from traveling at a speed that is greater than reasonable and prudent, having due regard to: traffic; surface conditions of the roadway; hazards at intersections; weather; visibility; or any other conditions then existing.
Seat belt use is also highly effective at reducing the severity of injuries sustained in a traffic accident. Dozens of studies over many decades have proven that failure to use a seat belt increases the likelihood that traffic accident injuries will be fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that seat belt use saved an estimated 64,000 lives between 2011 and 2015. This, too, is a requirement of Oregon law. (See Oregon Revised Statutes §811.210.)
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of auto accident, seek the counsel of an experienced Portland auto accident attorney. He or she will ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries and losses.