If you look at the statistics from the past few years, you will find that deadly car accidents have been on the decline. The United States still sees more than 35,000 deaths every year from car accidents, a staggering number, but it has dropped slightly.

Statistics show that it fell almost 2 percent between 2016 and 2017. Early 2018 reports show that the decline likely continued, though it takes time to really analyze all of the data.

Previous increases

However, while decreases are good to see, it is worth noting that previous increases were far larger, meaning that the risk of dying in a car accident is still much higher than many people realize.

For instance, between 2014 and 2015, the amount of deadly accidents increased by 8.4 percent. Between 2015 and 2016, it increased again by 6.5 percent. The most recent drop, which is really only 1.8 percent, does not wash out those increases. At that rate, it will take years simply to get back to the level seen prior to the jump.

This is significant because fatality statistics, on the whole, tend to decline over time. Older cars were far more dangerous than modern vehicles and not as many safety laws — or safety devices — even existed. Generally, things have gotten safer on America’s roads.

That is why the increases sparked concern. Why was the fatality rate going up again, after dropping for so long? What factors were we overlooking? Why were so many accidents leading to such serious results?

Multiple reasons

As with most things, there are many potential reasons. They all contribute to the shifts in deadly accidents.

For one thing, distracted driving has taken the roads by storm. Most people now have smartphones and many of them can’t resist using their phones in the car. While the vehicles may have more safety features than they did 20 years ago, drivers have far more distractions than they did then. This increases the amount of severe accidents.

Another potential reason is the rebounding American economy. When it was in the midst of the recession, a lot of people stopped driving as often. Some lost their jobs and didn’t need to commute. Others couldn’t afford to go on vacation. As things turn around, more people take to the roads, and that simply means there are more people who can get involved in these accidents.

Your rights

The key, if you get involved in a serious car accident and suffer injuries or lose a loved one, is to know what rights you have. You can’t avoid the statistical risk, but you can seek financial compensation.