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U.S. Traffic Deaths Decline, But Kansas Stays Level

Closeup of crashed car window in car accident.

Early fatal crash estimates for 2023 are giving traffic safety advocates hope that a dramatic rise in deadly traffic accidents will finally decrease. Over the first two quarters of 2023, the number of road deaths decreased by 3.3 percent nationwide compared to last year.

In Kansas, fatal car accidents are about the same as last year. There were 194 traffic fatalities in the first half of this year compared to 195 in 2022.

Fatal car accident trends

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's early estimates point to a reversal in a deadly U.S. trend. After years of declining road deaths, fatal car accidents rose sharply during the pandemic and in the following years.

Researchers from AAA say deadly car accidents increased because of increased bad driving behavior. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many drivers viewed less crowded streets as an opportunity to take more risks behind the wheel, such as speeding, distracted driving, and drunk driving.

Although the pandemic subsided, the bad driving habits stuck around. The national fatal crash rate over the last several years demonstrates this:

  • 2017 - 1.17 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
  • 2018 - 1.14
  • 2019 - 1.11
  • 2020 - 1.34
  • 2021 - 1.37
  • 2022 - 1.35

In the U.S., about 19,500 people died in car accidents, representing a decrease of about 3.3 percent as compared to 20,190 fatalities in the first half of 2022. Fatalities declined in both the first and second quarters of 2023.

Kansas fatal crashes

Kansas car accident fatalities have been high in recent years. The state has reported more than 400 car accident deaths annually since 2016. On average, there are 63 car accident fatalities annually in Sedgwick County alone. Most of these accidents happen in Wichita, where 48 deadly car accidents were reported in 2021.

According to state data, the top contributing factors in fatal Kansas car accidents are:

  • Distracted Driving: Distracted driving remains a leading cause of crashes in Kansas. When drivers divert their attention from the road to hold a cell phone, text, eat, adjust the radio, or engage in other distractions, their reaction times are compromised, making accidents more likely to occur.
  • Collisions with Animals: Collisions with animals are a significant factor in fatal accidents. Deer, in particular, are common road hazards, especially in rural areas. These accidents can result in severe injuries or fatalities, especially if a driver swerves to avoid the animal and loses control of their vehicle.
  • Right-of-Way Violations: Failure to yield the right-of-way is a frequent contributing factor in fatal accidents. Intersections are high-risk areas where drivers may fail to observe traffic rules, leading to collisions with tragic outcomes.
  • Tailgating: Tailgating, or following too closely behind the vehicle in front, can lead to deadly rear-end accidents. When a driver doesn't have enough space to react to sudden stops or changes in traffic, rear-end collisions are more likely to happen, often resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.
  • Speeding: Speeding is a significant contributor to fatal accidents in Kansas. Excessive speed reduces a driver's ability to react to unexpected situations and increases the severity of collisions. Speed limits are in place to maximize safety, and when they are exceeded, accidents become more deadly.

Fatal accidents and potential legal options

Losing a loved one in a fatal car accident is a heart-wrenching experience, and it can often be accompanied by significant financial and emotional stress. In such tragic circumstances, surviving family members often have legal options and may be eligible to file wrongful death claims. Typically, these claims are initiated by the deceased's spouse, children, parents, grandparents, or siblings.

For wrongful death cases in Kansas, the victim's family may be compensated for various losses, including funeral and burial expenses, medical bills related to the accident, loss of the deceased's future income, and the emotional suffering endured by the surviving family members.

While seeking compensation cannot heal the emotional wounds of losing a family member, it can help ease the financial burden and provide a sense of justice. Taking legal action also sends a message about the importance of safe driving and accountability for those responsible for fatal accidents.

Talk to an attorney at Warner Law Offices

In Kansas, you have only two years from the date of your loved one's passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit. That's why it's important to consult an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.

At Warner Law Offices, our dedicated legal team is committed to helping you navigate the process. We have a strong track record of achieving favorable outcomes for our clients, and we approach each case with compassion and determination.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in Kansas, whether it's a car wreck or some other type of accident involving negligence, we are here to provide you with the legal representation and support you need. To learn more about how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

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