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Improved economy leads to higher driver death rate

Drivers in Colorado and across the U.S. have a slightly increased chance of dying in a car crash involving late-model vehicles, according to a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A main reason for the increase is the improving economy.

Using crash data from 2012 through 2015, IIHS calculated the overall driver death rates for 2014 models to be 30 deaths per 1 million registered vehicle years. The organization found that the vehicle with the worst driver fatality rate was the Hyundai Accent, with a rate of 104 fatalities per 1 million registered vehicle years. On the other end of the scale, 11 car and truck models had zero fatalities per 1 million registered model years.

In 2011, IIHS researchers found that driver death rates had dropped by over 33 percent over the previous three years. The decline was attributed to improving vehicle safety standards. However, researchers have linked the increase for 2014 models to the improving economy. This is because people are more likely to go out to eat and go on vacation when they have more disposable income. Researchers also found that people are more likely to speed during robust economies.

Victims of automobile accidents often suffer catastrophic injuries that require weeks or months of expensive medical care. In some cases, they are left permanently disabled. In the event that it can be determined that the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, such as one who was impaired by alcohol, distracted by a cellphone or speeding, an attorney could possibly help an injured victim seek appropriate compensation for the losses that have been sustained.

Source: IIHS, "Higher driver death rate is a downside of economic recovery", May 25, 2017

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