Tennessee residents who deal with traffic congestion and distracted drivers on a daily basis may be surprised to learn that the nation's roads have become far safer in the last few years. The number of lives lost in fatal motor vehicle accidents fell by more than a third between 2011 and 2014, and 2014 saw the fewest highway deaths ever recorded. The introduction of passive safety features such as airbags and electronic braking systems in the 1980s are credited with beginning the drop in road deaths, and more advanced safety technology is thought to be largely responsible for the recent surge in accident survival.
Accident fatality statistics vary greatly between states. The roads in Montana are statistically the nation's most dangerous with 23.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2013. The country's safest place to travel is the District of Columbia where only 4.6 road users were killed per 100,000 people in that year. The nationwide average was 10.7 deaths per 100,000 people.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps detailed cause of death statistics, and health-related issues such as heart disease and cancer remain the nation's leading killers. While road travel is now much safer than it once was, it is still one of the country's leading causes of death. Road travel and firearms kill about the same number of people each year in the United States, and Americans are more than twice as likely to be killed in an auto accident than in a homicide.
Drunk, distracted or drowsy drivers are sometimes killed in the accidents they cause, and this can make it difficult for those who have suffered injury, loss or damage. When the negligent party responsible for causing an accident is killed or incarcerated, a personal injury attorney may initiate legal proceedings against their estate or insurance provider on behalf of accident victims.