Record Miles Driven in 2015 Means Motorists in Wilmington Need to Exercise Greater Care
In 2015, Americans drove more miles than at any time in history. Throughout America, drivers traveled close to 3.15 trillion miles. This is a sufficient amount of miles to make it possible to get to Pluto and back at least 337 times. Chicago Tribune reported on this record-setting year and provided an explanation for why so many miles were driven over the course of a single year.
Unfortunately, as the number of miles driven increased, the number of people injured or killed in auto accidents has also gone up. There was a dramatic rise in car accident deaths in 2015, with the biggest increase in fatality rates in 50 years. Conditions which resulted in record miles are expected to continue and motorists must be aware of the added risks presented by more drivers on the roads.
Americans Beat Driving Records as Need for Safety Increases
The record number of miles driven over the course of 2015 follows a long period of limited driving during the Great Recession. Miles driven have finally reached and surpassed previous highs in 2007, but the population has grown since 2007, which helps to explain why there are more miles being driven now than during this pre-recession period.
The total number of miles driven is calculated by Federal Highway Administration. The total miles driven is calculated by taking into account all kinds of road travel including travel on trucks; passenger vehicles; and buses.
While the total number of miles reached a new high, the number of miles driven on a per-capita basis is still below the miles driven in the mid-20003. In 2004, motorists drove an average of 10,105 miles per person. By contrast, in 2015, the per capita number of miles driven was 9,794. Still, while the per capita record has not been beat, the number of miles driven on the roads still shows a major trend towards more driving. From 2014 to 2015, there was more than a four percent rise in the total vehicle miles driven. This was the largest year-to-year increase to occur since the 1980s. Continued increases are also expected in 2016.
The rise in the number of motorists on the road can be explained by the decline in gas prices. Gas is cheaper than it has been at any time since 2004 and in many places throughout the United States, gas prices are at $1.50 per gallon or less. This has resulted in more people driving, in people driving for longer distances, and in people becoming far less interested in fuel efficiency.
The rise in miles driven has unfortunately resulted in a rise in car accident deaths. There was an eight percent rise in fatalities in car accidents from 2014 to 2015. Motorists need to be aware of the risks which come along with more people on the road. Driving cautiously, avoiding speeding and distracted driving, and otherwise exercising reasonable care becomes even more essential with more motorists on the road.