Drivers in Illinois and around the country are getting into accidents more often, and many that they are involved in are becoming more serious. Those were two of the conclusions reached by researchers from CCC Intelligent Solutions when they analyzed car accident and insurance claim data gathered in 2022. The software company’s most recent Crash Course report blamed the increase in accident frequency and severity on a surge in speeding and distracted driving.
The rise in auto accident injuries and deaths has also been linked to the growing popularity of large pickup trucks and SUVs. According to the CCC Intelligent Solutions report, more than 80% of the Americans who purchased a new vehicle in 2022 chose one from the “light truck” category. This is worrying for road safety advocacy groups because heavy vehicles cause more deaths and injuries when they crash, and the road users who lose their lives are often cyclists or pedestrians.
Tractor-trailer, pedestrian and cyclist deaths rise
Road deaths in the United States fell by 0.2% to 31,785 in 2022 according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but a closer scrutiny of the figures reveals some worrying trends. The slight drop in traffic accident fatalities conceals a 10% increase in fatal accidents involving semi-tractor trailers, a 2% rise in pedestrian deaths and an alarming 8% increase in cyclist fatalities.
Many road safety groups put the increase in road deaths observed during the last few years down to reckless habits like speeding, impaired driving and using mobile electronic devices behind the wheel. If they are right, the onus is on lawmakers and law enforcement to make the roads safer. The penalties for reckless and negligent driving should be stiffened, and police should do more to clamp down on behavior that puts all road users in danger.