Right now people in Texas are counting their lucky stars that we’re not on the Top 10 List of states with the highest accident costs. (We do have that list a little further down this page.)
In the largest jump in 50 years, Motor-vehicle deaths increased by 8% in 2015 according to the Itasca, Ill.-based National Safety Council. NHTSA reports auto-related deaths increased 9.5% in the first three months; NSC says there has been a 14% jump in the first six months of 2015.
Analysis from the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) has found that distracted driving, increase in traffic congestion, changing demographics, distracted walking and the decriminalization of marijuana are among the leading causes contributing to the rise in accidents. With a more robust economy, along with cheaper fuel prices, more people are driving and, therefore, more exposed to the outcome from a mistake or bad decision behind the wheel — or another motorist’s bad decision.
This trend means more claims for Auto insurers. Unfortunately, this comes at a time when claims are becoming more expensive.
According to Robert Passmore, assistant vice president, policy development and research at PCI, writes "On average, insurance claim costs for bodily injuries rose 42% and collision coverages are up 17% during the past decade."
Enhanced safety technology has made automobiles drastically safer for passengers. However, we are still witnessing a significant increase in auto accidents and highway fatalities. The National Safety Council estimated that motor-vehicle deaths were 8 percent higher in 2015 than they were in 2014 – the largest increase in 50 years.
PCI analysis has found the leading causes contributing to the rise in accidents include distracted driving, increase in traffic congestion, and changing age demographics. New emerging trends such as distracted walking and the decriminalization of marijuana also could be playing a role in more auto accidents.
The rise in auto accident frequency comes at a time when auto severity trends (increasing costs of auto repair and medical care) also have been rising nationally. While safety is PCI’s first concern, the combination of the increase in auto accidents and accident severity are a serious concern to consumers and could be impacting your auto insurance costs and hitting your families’ pocketbook.
Still, the role of cellphones is being analyzed, too. NSC estimates one in four car crashes involve a cell phone, the Wall Street Journal notes.
The news also comes in the midst of a spirited debate among automakers, regulators and safety experts as to what technology could be used to prevent accidents – even as the proliferation of smartphones has been linked to distracted driving. Drivers are texting, face-timing, taking selfies and posting on Facebook while trying to keep one eye on the road. Some studies suggest that telephone conversations, even with hands-free technology, can be highly distracting. Although many states have laws prohibiting handheld cellphone use, no states ban all cellphone use.
Here are the 10 states with the biggest increase in accident costs, according to PCI's analysis of Fast Track data:
10. Rhode Island, 6.5%
9. Colorado, 7.2%
7. Maryland, 7.4% tie
7. South Carolina, 7.4% tie
6. Mississippi, 7.8%
5. Nevada, 8%
4. Massachusetts, 8.1%
3. Florida, 8.5%
2. Georgia, 9.5%
1. Washington, D.C. 12.2%
The steady introduction of technology in vehicles such as adaptive cruise control portends a day when vehicles can safely drive themselves, removing human error and possibly reducing accidents drastically. On Monday, ten automakers announced they would install automatic emergency braking, which could lessen the number of car-related deaths dramatically.
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