Bellingham Woman Involved in Fatal Highway Crash in Skagit County
As reported by kgmi.com, a Bellingham woman named Sonja Bratz was involved in a fatal highway crash in Skagit County on the evening of Friday, December 18. According to state troopers, Bratz was driving southbound on State Route 20 when she crossed over the center line and struck a vehicle driven by an Anacortes woman. Bratz died at the scene of the accident and the driver of the other vehicle was airlifted to Harborview. At this time, it is unknown if alcohol or drugs were involved; the cause of the accident is still under investigation.
Fatal highway crash statistics
IIHS reports that there were 33,654 fatal motor vehicle accidents in the United States in 2018. Out of these accidents, 36,560 people were killed. These collisions caused an average of 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.13 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. The fatality rate varies from state to state.
While there isn’t a lot of information available for highway crashes specifically, 2017 data from the Bureau of Transportation shows that speeding is the number one cited driver-related factor in fatal highway crashes.
Leading causes of fatal car accidents
There are several leading causes behind deadly car accidents and most of them come in the form of preventable behavior. Here is a look at some of the main behaviors that lead to fatal accidents:
The faster a vehicle is traveling, the more likely a crash will result in a fatality. With speed limits higher on highways, crashes are inherently more dangerous. Speeding in poor weather conditions or when visibility is impaired adds to the danger. Young men are the most likely group to engage in excessive speeding and alcohol or drug use is often a contributing factor.
Distracted driving is a leading cause of fatal car crashes, especially for teen drivers between the ages of 15 and 20. Examples include talking or texting, searching for something on the floor, a heated conversation or even switching the radio station while driving. Most states have distracted driving laws in place to help reduce distracted driving accidents.
According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2018, 20.5 million people drove under the influence of alcohol that year and an additional 12.6 million drove under the influence of illegal drugs. According to data from CDC.gov, in the United States alone, one person tragically dies every 50 minutes in a drunk driving incident. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 43.6 percent of drivers who were fatally injured in 2016 tested positive for drugs and over half of those drivers had two or more drugs present in their system.
Not wearing seatbelts
Since the 1980s it has been common knowledge that seatbelts save lives but it has taken decades to get most people on board with wearing them. Those who don’t are at a significantly higher risk of dying in a car crash. According to injuryfacts.nsc.org, in 2000, only 70.7 percent of front seat passengers were observed wearing seat belts, and 50.9 percent of people who died in crashes were unrestrained. By comparison, in 2018, seat belt use had risen to 89.6 percent and unrestrained passenger death dropped to 39.5 percent. Data from 2019 estimates that seat belt use had grown to 90.7 percent.
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!