Smith + Schwartzstein
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Is climate change causing more car accidents?

Every day Americans are faced with stories about the growing concern over climate change. Almost as ubiquitous are the rising concerns about dangerous drivers on the road. Could the two be related? A new study published in Injury Prevention suggests there is at least a correlation between climate change and car accidents.

Feeling the heat

NASA studies indicate that human activity is a factor in climate change, some of which can be attributed to vehicle emissions. According to the IP study, traffic fatalities rose in 2015, reversing a 35-year trend of year-over-year decreases in deaths. What caused the spike? 

The study points to warmer weather leading to an increase in driving activity. As you might expect, more cars driving more miles led to more accidents, leading researchers at Injury Prevention to correlate climate change with traffic fatalities.

Although you might be heated about these statistics, it's sometimes difficult to hold Mother Nature accountable for a car accident. Indeed, like climate change, there appears to be a very human element to the increase in traffic fatalities.

The human element

The U.S. Department of Transportation carried out a similar study on the 2015 numbers and found that human factors like distracted driving were mostly to blame for the increase in traffic deaths.

So, an increase in temperatures led to an increase in cars on the road. At the same time, the distraction of technology and smartphones grew pervasive among drivers. This trio of factors can be blamed for the increase in traffic deaths.

Preventing traffic deaths

Although mitigating the potential dangers of climate change could require a collective effort, there are actions each of us can take to reduce distracted driving on the road. However, this requires recognition of the problem and a conscious effort to stop.

A recent study shows that although Americans believe that distracted driving is dangerous, just as many think they can get away with it. When preventative efforts fail, injured victims can use civil litigation after an accident to hold distracted drivers accountable for their actions.

Climate change, miles driven and distracted driving are all on the rise in America. Thus, drivers are feeling the heat to be more responsible on the road, but with the right information, cooler heads can prevail when an accident happens.

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