Negligent Driving Takes Its Toll
The automobile is a centerpiece of the American way of life. If you have lived in Lafayette and Acadiana for a few years, you have witnessed firsthand the explosion in the number of vehicles on the road. Here at Joseph Joy and Associates, the traffic passing in front of our offices on South College Road has increased substantially over the years.
U.S. Census data reveals there are 123 million vehicles with commuter passengers on the road. With such a large number of 4,000 pound-cars, 8,500 pound-pickups and 18-wheelers weighing 80,000 pounds on average, it is inevitable that accidents will occur, some causing very serious personal injuries and fatalities.
Vehicle accidents are caused by many factors: negligence, speeding, texting while driving, defects in vehicles and roadways, hazardous conditions. The list is endless. Every single injury and death are a tragedy.
There is an enormous cost to individuals, families, taxpayers and others associated with vehicle accidents. Several years ago, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration published an article measuring The Economic and Societal Impact Of Motor Vehicle Crashes in 2010. Although it’s been many years since it has been updated, the personal injury lawyers at Joseph Joy and Associates reiterate here because its findings are still spot-on today:
In 2010, there were 32,999 people killed, 3.9 million were injured, and 24 million vehicles were damaged in motor vehicle crashes in the United States. The economic costs of these crashes totaled $242 billion. Included in these losses are lost productivity, medical costs, legal and court costs, emergency service costs (EMS), insurance administration costs, congestion costs, property damage, and workplace losses.
The $242 billion cost of motor vehicle crashes represents the equivalent of nearly $784 for each of the 308.7 million people living in the United States, and 1.6 percent of the $14.96 trillion real U.S. Gross Domestic Product for 2010. These figures include both police‐reported and unreported crashes.
We found this statement to be stunning: When quality of life valuations are considered, the total value of societal harm from motor vehicle crashes in 2010 was $836 billion. Lost market and household productivity accounted for $77 billion of the total $242 billion economic costs, while property damage accounted for $76 billion. Medical expenses totaled $23 billion. Congestion caused by crashes, including travel delay, excess fuel consumption, greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants accounted for $28 billion. Each fatality resulted in an average discounted lifetime cost of $1.4 million. Public revenues paid for roughly 7 percent of all motor vehicle crash costs, costing taxpayers $18 billion in 2010, the equivalent of over $156 in added taxes for every household in the United States.
Alcohol involved crashes accounted for $52 billion or 22 percent of all economic costs, and 84 percent of these costs occurred in crashes where a driver or non‐occupant had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter or greater. Alcohol was the cause of the crash in roughly 82 percent of these cases, causing $43 billion in costs.
With such a high cost to society, it behooves every driver to act responsibly behind the wheel. Interestingly enough, a review of federal data by a firm called Car Insurance Companies culminated in a list of the 25 most dangerous cities for drivers. Guess which American city is at the top of the list? If you guessed Baton Rouge you are correct. According to the study, Baton Rouge topped the list because it has the most vehicle fatalities at 23.1 per 100,000 people, 52 per year. According to their review of the statistics from the National Transportation Highway Safety Administration, the relative collision likelihood in Baton Rouge is 55.1% above-average. For a city of only 220,5370 people, these statistics catapulted the capital city of Louisiana to the top of the list.
Coming in at number seven is New Orleans. Which has 11.2 motor vehicle fatalities per 100,000 people, 44 per year. The relative collision likelihood in New Orleans is 49.1% above average.
Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that in 2017, driving was responsible for 37,133 fatalities. Adjusted for population, that’s 11.4 driving fatalities for every 100,000 people in the U.S.
The Joseph Joy personal injury research team decided to drill down to the local level. We reviewed data supplied by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for estimated annual average daily traffic routine counts for some of the more popular thoroughfares in Lafayette.
Johnston Street near the intersection of Cajundome Boulevard US-167, mile point 18.67 had an estimated 26,571 vehicles in 2015. That’s actually down from 31,031 vehicles in 2012.
West Pinhook Road and East University at Mile Point 124.055 in 2018, 27495 vehicles were estimated. That’s an increase from 2015’s 24,242.
Southwest Evangeline Thruway north of Jefferson Boulevard at Mile Point 107.868 log 53689 vehicles, a reduction from 2015’s count of 60985
The personal injury attorneys at Joseph Joy & Associates also looked at the NHTSA’s 2017 traffic fatalities statistics for some surrounding Acadiana parishes. The most recent data compares 2017 traffic fatalities with 2016.
- In Lafayette Parish, 18 people died in traffic accidents, down 25% from the prior year during which 24 people perished.
- In St. Martin Parish there was an increase of traffic fatalities in 2017. Seventeen people were killed in traffic accidents, four more than in 2016, representing an increase of 31%.
- In St. Landry Parish, another significant increase in traffic fatalities in 2017. Twenty-three people died, representing a 53% increase from 2016 when 15 people were killed in traffic accidents.
- In Iberia Parish, there was a drop in traffic fatalities to only eight deaths in 2017. In 2016, 15 people died. That decrease was 47%.
- In Vermilion Parish, they were only four traffic fatalities in 2017. But in 2016 10 people died in Vermilion.
You can view all of the data for the state of Louisiana here.
Safety is of the utmost concern to the personal injury lawyers at Joseph Joy and Associates in Lafayette. We encounter many instances of negligence that results in serious injuries and fatalities. There are steps all of us can take to make driving and riding in a car or truck safer. Reducing your risk of personal injury is the most important step, but if you or a loved one sustains an injury in a car accident, please call us at 337-232-8123. The law offices of Joseph Joy and Associates can ensure you get proper legal representation, and the compensation you deserve.