Traffic fatalities in Ohio have increased for the second year in a row, with some blaming an increase in speeding.
Last year was certainly not a good one to be out on the road in Ohio. For the second year in a row, the state saw an increase in traffic fatalities, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The increase has raised alarms with law enforcement and safety experts, who are trying to figure out why, after long-term declines, fatal car accidents are now back on the rise. While lower gas prices and a recovering economy may be partly responsible for the increase, analysts point to a steep rise in speeding citations throughout the state as another possible explanation.
Rising traffic deaths
The State Highway Patrol recently released its preliminary 2015 accident figures, which show that 1,057 people are confirmed to have been killed in motor vehicle accidents in Ohio last year, with a further 42 unconfirmed deaths still under review. In comparison, in 2014 there were 1,008 traffic fatalities in the state, which itself was an increase from the 990 such fatalities recorded in 2013.
After having set a record-low number of fatalities in 2013, safety officials are understandably disappointed that such safety gains have been reversed in the past two years. Officials note that in about 60 percent of cases the deceased was not wearing a seat belt, while in a third of fatal crashes the driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol. Analysts also suggest that lower gas prices and better economic conditions could be contributing to an overall increase in automobile use throughout the state.
The role of speeding
One issue that has become much more urgent given the rising number of traffic deaths is that of speeding. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, the number of speeding citations handed out by state troopers has increased dramatically, especially for drivers going above 100 mph. Statistics show that the number of drivers cited by state troopers for going faster than 100 mph increased by 23 percent between 2011 and 2014, from 942 to 1,160 respectively.
Some analysts blame recent speed limit increases on the turnpike and interstate systems as giving the impression to some particularly aggressive drivers that they can drive even faster than before. In 2013, for example, the speed limit on the interstate was increased from 65 mph to 70 mph. The increased speeds are a concern given that accidents that occur at higher speeds are far more likely to result in death or serious injury. Analysts also point out that in 2015, speeding was one of the leading causes of fatal traffic accidents, accounting for about a third of all such crashes.
Injured in a crash?
With serious accidents on the rise in Ohio, every driver needs to remain vigilant. For those who have been hurt in a crash, it is important that they talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. By contacting an attorney sooner, accident victims may be able to increase their chances of successfully pursuing compensation and will also have somebody on their side who will fight for their rights.