Report: Economy improves, highway deaths rise

You may have noticed that roads in Cincinnati, Hamilton County and northern Kentucky have become more congested over the last year and this is likely to be due to the fact that the economy is showing signs of improvement. Jobs are slowly opening up, lay-offs are dropping, and people's confidence is improving, encouraging them to take trips and enjoy life a little more.

However, as the roads become busier, the risk of being involved in a serious car accident rises. This is not unexpected according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Preliminary estimates for 2012

USA Today reports that while deaths on highways across the United States had decreased 26 percent between 2005 and 2011, there was a notable increase in 2012. The report did not give a reason for the decrease but there is some speculation that as the economy went into a depression, Americans altered their driving habits in order to save money on higher fuel costs.

The executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association says that the 5.3 percent rise of highway fatalities last year was expected with the improvement of the economy. While the numbers are preliminary estimates until all of the data is in, it appears that Northeastern states experienced the sharpest increase. That region shows a 15% increase.

It should also be noted that the numbers from NHTSA do not provide a breakdown of the 2012 numbers, or the numbers of people who received a serious injury due to a car crash.

Motorcycle crashes of concern

The report did raise concern for the Governors Highway Safety Association when it came to motorcycle data. Fatal motorcycle crashes are projected to be at 14.7 percent for 2012. Helmet laws, which only exist in 19 states, could improve the chances of survival for bikers according to the GHSA director. Motorcycles have become increasingly popular and the fatalities of motorcyclists rose by 9 percent in comparison with 2011 numbers.

Ohio's statistics

Ohio's Department of Public Safety has not released crash data for 2012, but it is known that fatal accidents have fluctuated in the years 2007-2011. The state's 2011 statistics provide a further breakdown:

•· Total crashes for 2011 were 292,163

•· 1,015 people were killed in car accidents

•· 12,521 drunk drivers were involved in car accidents

•· 52,813 injury type crashes occurred

Crashes involved in motorcycle-car crashes were unknown. Given the data from NHTSA, Ohio's 2012 crash data will likely show an increase from previous years.

Motorcycle accident statistics in Kentucky

Like Ohio, specific information on motorcycle accidents in Kentucky is not yet available for 2012. However, information is available for the preceding years. The number of traffic accidents involving motorcycles decreased between 2010 and 2011 in Kentucky. Between the same years the number of fatal motorcycle accidents also decreased but the percentage of fatal motorcycle accidents among all fatal collision remained the same at eight percent. Interestingly, the number of motorcycles registered in the state also decreased between the two years, according to the Kentucky State Police's annual report on traffic collisions.

Accidents involving motorcycles can quickly turn serious. If you have been the victim of a motorcycle or car accident, an attorney can help you seek compensation to pay your medical bills and other damages.