As a Missouri auto accident attorney, I was very pleased to see brand-new traffic fatality statistics released by the federal government in October. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency that tracks traffic accidents nationwide, released its projected statistics (PDF) for all traffic fatalities in the United States between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2009. The bad news is that the first half of 2009 saw an estimated 16, 626 deaths in traffic accidents, putting the country on track for more than 33,500 fatalities for the year. The good news is that this number actually represents a decline from 2008 — and a continuation of the biggest downward trend of the last 30 years.
In fact, the estimated 2009 numbers for January through June show a 7% drop from the same months in 2008. That year saw an impressive 10% decline over 2007, continuing a trend that started in the second quarter of 2006. This is the longest period of successive declines in traffic fatalities since the agency began keeping fatality records in 1975. The NHTSA’s briefs do not speculate about reasons for the decline, but the brief did note that 2008 was a leap year, and saw 95 traffic fatalities during its extra day. Perhaps more importantly, the brief noted that vehicle miles traveled declined overall in the first half of 2009, by about 0.4%, including a 1.7% decline in the first quarter. Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, which is considered a more accurate measure than pure numbers, dropped from 1.23 in the first half of 2008 to 1.15 in the first half of 2009.
As a St. Louis car crash lawyer, I’m pleased to see that we’re maintaining this decline in auto accidents. The decline in overall vehicle miles traveled suggests that the decline in fatalities may stem from people’s choices to simply drive less, possibly because of the price of gasoline. But the accident rate per 100 million VMT shows that even if they did drive less, they got into fewer fatal accidents when they did drive. That’s great news, because car accidents are one of the most common and preventable causes of death in America. The leading cause of accidental death, according to the CDC, and the leading cause of death overall for Americans under 34. That means a prolonged decline in fatal accidents is great news for nearly everyone.


Based in St. Louis, the Lowe Law Firm represents clients in southern Illinois and throughout Missouri who were seriously hurt or lost a loved one in a car crash. As I have seen many times through my practice, when car wrecks don’t cause deaths, they frequently lead to serious injuries and permanent disabilities, such as paralysis or amputation. When drivers cause serious injuries or fatalities for others through their own bad decisions, victims may sue them for all of the costs and damages the accidents caused. In a lawsuit, victims and their families can claim all of the financial costs of the accident, including the cost of lost income and any medical care victims may need in the future, as well as compensation for their injuries, grief and pain. Our southern Illinois motor vehicle crash attorneys aim to get clients the money they need to treat their injuries, stay on firm financial ground and move past a serious accident.
If you or a loved one was seriously hurt in a car crash caused by someone else’s negligence, the Lowe Law Firm can help. To set up a free, confidential evaluation of your case, please contact us through our Web site or call 1-877-678-3400 today.