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Fatal car accidents on the rise in Kansas

Fatal car accident
The tragic fact is that fatal car accidents in Kansas are on the rise. The state is trying to reverse the trend, but the outcome of those efforts is uncertain.

According to the Fiscal Year 2021 Kansas Highway Safety Plan, motor vehicle accidents claimed the lives of 376 Kansans in 2015. As if that is not bad enough, the numbers since have worsened:

  • 2016: 385
  • 2017: 396
  • 2018: 407
  • 2019: 412
  • 2020 (estimated): 423
  • 2021 (projected): 432

Other notable facts in the report:

  • Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled rose from 1.23 in 2015 to a projected 1.32 in 2021.
  • Motorcycle fatalities jumped from 48 in 2015 to a projected 75 in 2021.
  • Pedestrian fatalities numbered 24 in 2015, but are projected to reach 41 in 2021.
  • Distracted driver crashes have increased from 16,589 in 2015 to a projected 19,048 in 2021.

Addressing the issues

Like everywhere else, impaired driving due to alcohol or drug use is a problem in Kansas. Police are targeting counties with high rates of impaired driving, while other efforts aim to reduce recidivism and underage drinking. Programs also provide judicial, prosecutor, and law enforcement training, as well as high-visibility enforcement, including increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints.

Another major issue is one that you see every day on the roads in Kansas - distracted driving. People chatting on their phones, texting, entering information into a GPS device, etc. is a contributing factor in 25% of all crashes in Kansas. Public information campaigns and strict law enforcement are among the tools utilized by the state.

Young drivers present a challenge because they lack driving skills due to limited experience. As a result, teen drivers were involved in 18% of all crashes in Kansas in 2017. While the number may not seem high, it is about three times greater than would be expected based on the percentage of teen drivers in the state. Driver education programs and graduated driver’s licenses are key parts of the effort to address the issue.

Other educational programs include motorcycle safety and seat belt usage, including child restraints, the training of local roadway engineers, and working with community groups. Other efforts include increasing day-to-day awareness among law enforcement and coordinating the collection and sharing of traffic records.

Fatal accidents still happen

Some drivers make innocent mistakes. Some are just bad drivers. Others drive like they "own the road," looking out for no one else. No matter the reason, if your family has lost a loved one, the emotional and mental suffering is unbearable and long-lasting. As you try to cope with tragedy, you also face complex legal issues. The other driver is probably not going to accept blame for the fatal accident. In all likelihood, they will blame your loved one. As you weigh your legal options, an insurance company may approach you with a settlement offer that, upon closer expectation, is far less than you deserve for your expenses, including your pain and suffering. But the pressure is great because you need the money.

At Warner Law Offices in Wichita, we understand the almost impossible situation that you are in. Attorneys Thomas M. Warner Jr. and Anne H. Pankratz each have more than 25 years of experience representing clients just like you throughout Kansas. Our law firm will treat you with professionalism and compassion as we aggressively pursue justice and a fair financial settlement for you and your family. We also work on a contingency fee basis, so you pay nothing unless we win your case. Contact us today for a free case consultation.

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