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As Other States Experience Decreases, Oregon Sees Increase in Fatal Car Accidents

In 2019, the city of Portland saw an alarmingly large increase in car accidents. In too many of these cases, drivers and passengers involved suffered life-threatening injuries. Fatal accidents on local roads have sadly become all too common. Unfortunately, new statistics show that this is part of a troubling and tragic trend throughout the state.  

Fatal Car Accidents a Problem in Portland and Across Oregon

According to a 2019 news report by Oregon Live, close to 50 people died as a result of motor vehicle accidents in Portland over the course of the year. This is the highest rate of car accident fatalities experienced by the city since 1997. Unfortunately, it appears to be part of a statewide trend. 

A February 21, 2020 report by KATU news states that while traffic safety studies show an overall decrease in fatal car accidents across the county, Oregon is one of a handful of states where these numbers continue to climb. This is particularly troubling for both state and local officials, who have invested large sums of money on changes designed to make areas streets safer. 

As part of the Vision Zero program, infrastructure improvements, such as more sidewalks, crosswalks, and lighting at intersections, were supposed to provide additional protections. Meanwhile, increased law enforcement efforts were designed to reduce dangerous driving behaviors. Together, these and other actions were projected to completely eliminate motor vehicle accident injuries and deaths by the year 2025. Sadly, these latest reports show the city and state falling far short of those goals.  

What You Need to Know About Fatal Car Accidents

Statistics on fatal car accidents across the country, which were provided by the National Safety Council (NSC), show that in more than a dozen states, numbers decreased by more than 10 percent from the previous year. Across our state, the rate increased by roughly five percent. In Portland, that rate was nearly doubled. 

The NSC reports that the most potentially deadly types of car accidents include side angle crashes, head-on collisions, and rear-end accidents. These are more likely to occur at night and over weekends, on both major highways and rural roads. Among the main contributing causes include: 

  • Speeding and going too fast for conditions: This increases your car accident risks and the odds of fatal injuries. 
  • Running red lights and disregarding other traffic signals: Intersections are one of the places fatal car accidents are most likely to occur. 
  • Being distracted: Looking away from the road to read a text or taking your hands off the wheel for even a few seconds increases fatal car accident risks.
  • Driving impaired: Alcohol and drug use continues to be the number one cause of fatal car accidents. 

Contact Our Portland Car Accident Attorneys Today

While nothing can bring back those you have lost in car accidents, the Johnston Law Firm P.C. helps you get a sense of justice by holding those at-fault accountable in a claim. To schedule a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland car accident attorneys online today. 


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.