As the year comes to a close, an increase in the total number of all traffic related deaths in 2016 reveals a grim trend in driving safety across the nation. Last week, the Associated Press reported the number of pedestrian deaths in Minnesota for 2016 reached a 25-year high. Experts in Minnesota claim distractions fueled by new technologies such as mobile apps and games provide heightened dangers for both pedestrians and drivers. As the number of distractions increase, both drivers and pedestrians lose awareness of their surroundings and have decreased attention capacities, creating a deadly combination. Although new technologies create more opportunities for distractions, every driver on the road has a responsibility to implement safe driving practices, including awareness of all pedestrians.
Unfortunately, Minnesota’s spike in traffic related deaths mirrors a similar trend in Wisconsin. According to preliminary statistics provided by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the number of traffic related deaths in 2016 increased 6% from 2015, marking the highest number of traffic related deaths since 2012. In 2016, 588 people in Wisconsin died as a result of traffic related incidents, resulting in 33 more deaths than in 2015. As CBS58 reports, over 90% of those deaths were a direct result of poor driving decisions, most notably, distracted driving.
Officials Urge Texting While Driving Should Be Considered Equally Dangerous as Drunk Driving
In the past few years, education on drunk driving has expanded immensely and the dangers of driving while intoxicated are widely accepted. However, officials are now urging drivers to take similar precautions against texting while driving. Texting, or using other functions on your mobile device, can greatly impair your attention capacity and ability to safely handle roads. Lieutenant Nathan Clarke, from the Wisconsin State Patrol wants drivers to understand that the dangers of texting while driving deserve equal emphasis as the dangers of drunk driving. More distractions present while driving will inevitably result in more unnecessary traffic related deaths. Especially during the winter months, when roads may be more treacherous, drivers should avert all of their attention to the road, not their phones.
In 2017, officials across Wisconsin plan to increase efforts in educating drivers about the importance of undistracted driving. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation continues to strive for their ultimate goal of reaching zero traffic related deaths. In order to combat preventable accidents, every driver is urged to consider the consequences of distracted driving before they take the road.
Although we continue to strive for safer roads, if you or a loved one has been a victim of distracted driving contact Steve Caya, an experienced Janesville personal injury lawyer, to help you recover from the financial and physical trauma of your traffic accident injury.