Officials Fear Dramatic Rise in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Gas prices have dipped below $2.00 a gallon in many communities across the country, the lowest they have been in more than five years. Another statistic that has government officials worried, though—the last time gas prices were this cheap, there was also a dramatic increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents nationwide. Before the plummeting of gas prices in 2009, officials had seen more than four consecutive years of declining rates of death and injury in motor vehicle accidents. Throughout the time prices remained low (2008-2009), accident rates remained high. As soon as fuel prices went back up, accident rates dropped precipitously.
Researchers have long understood the correlation between gas prices and car accidents. It’s simple mathematical probability. The cheaper the cost of gas, the more inclined people are to drive rather than fly, the more willing they are to drive longer distances, and the greater the likelihood that they’ll choose to go out somewhere instead of stay home. Lower gas prices are particularly attractive to younger drivers, who have less discretionary income, and who don’t necessarily have to drive to meet job and family obligations. Studies show that, during times of lower gas prices, death and injury among younger drivers rises disproportionately to that of older drivers.
Guangqing Chi, a sociologist and researcher at South Dakota State University, cautions that, should gas prices remain at or around $2.00 under the average for 2014, there could be as many as 9,000 additional traffic fatalities in the United States this year. A prior study by Chi linked a 20 cent per gallon decrease in gas prices in Minnesota with an additional 15 deaths on the state’s roads.
Contact the Motor Vehicle Accident Injury Attorneys at Mallon & Tranger
We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered an injury in a motor vehicle accident. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-780-0230 for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.