Traffic fatalities in Kansas have been on the rise — not only in 2019, but also in 2020. Statistics released by the NHTSA showed a 1.5 percent increase in traffic fatalities across Kansas from 2018 to 2019, while most of the nation saw a slight decrease. The rise in traffic fatalities didn't stop because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to KSNT, there were 367 traffic fatalities in 2020 throughout Kansas as of November 11th — yet the total death toll won't be released by the NHTSA for another year. That still accounts for five percent more road deaths than the same time in 2019.
Kansas Highway Patrol blames distracted driving, speeding and deer crossing for more accidents
Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) Superintendent Colonel Herman T. Jones believes distracted driving is to blame.
At 55 mph, texting and driving for five seconds is the equivalent of traveling more than the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
“A lot can happen in that time," said Jones.
Distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of serious and fatal crashes. This is despite texting and driving being illegal for Kansas drivers. Inattention isn't just limited to cellphones, however. Any activity that takes drivers' hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, or attention away from driving can significantly increase the risk of a crash.
In addition, KHP Lieutenant Candace Breshears cited an increase in speeding since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March. The rise in dangerous speeding during 2020 was believed to be caused by a lack of traffic congestion. This was due to pandemic guidelines. Law enforcement officers across the U.S. have caught drivers traveling at speeds greater than 100 mph, which is more than enough to cause a serious catastrophe.
Many of the fatal crashes this year have involved deer crossing the road, according to Kansas Department of Transportation traffic safety program manager Chris Bortz. Some drivers swerve to avoid hitting a deer and end up driving off the road or causing a head-on collision.
“Right or left, doesn’t matter. Obviously, if you’re leaving left, you could be impacting another vehicle. Right, you’re going to get in an area that was not meant for driving, so once again, stay in your lane and hit the deer,” said Bortz.
Drivers have a duty to stay attentive and use caution on Kansas roadways
No matter what the conditions are, drivers still have a duty to uphold to others on the road. You or a loved one may have been injured in a crash due to someone else's negligence. It is important that you know your rights. Don't let the insurance companies dictate the outcome of your car accident case.
The legal team at Bretz & Young Injury Lawyers knows how to look for the facts and help injured motorists build strong cases. You may be dealing with whiplash or a catastrophic injury. We'll work to place an accurate value on your case and fight to help you get the compensation you deserve. We have law offices conveniently located across the state of Kansas and offer free legal consultations for all injury claims. Contact our law firm online or call one of our offices to get started.