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Why are traffic accidents deaths climbing again?

Does it seem to you that more stories of fatal car crashes cover the internet and print media? It seems as though there is a sad tale of a death at least once a week, if not more, nationwide. That perception could be more right that you know, at least for 2016.

It has been since 2007 since the country has seen such a deadly year on the roadways. Last year, approximately 40,000 people lost their lives on the country's roads, including many here in West Virginia. Another 4.6 million or so suffered injuries in a variety of crashes. These sharp increases haven't occurred in quite a long time.

What's causing such a dramatic increase?

Answering that question was the goal of a study done by the National Safety Council. It's not particularly surprising that that around 83 percent of those surveyed considered safe driving, or the lack thereof, a concern. However, the following statistics may be a bit alarming:

  • 47 percent felt comfortable texting while driving
  • 10 percent felt comfortable drinking and driving
  • 13 percent felt comfortable smoking pot and driving
  • 64 percent felt comfortable speeding

You may also find these results surprising, but you may also know that you occasionally engage in at least one of these behaviors while driving. Like anything else, the more prevalent it is -- good or bad -- the more comfortable people become with it. The same appears true for the dramatic uptick in fatalities on roadways.

Possible solutions that may decrease fatalities

In a day when technologically minded geniuses can put men on the moon and reduce your phone to a computer that allows you to stay in touch with someone half way across the world, you would think that making driving safer would be easy. In fact, there are some measures that may help to do just that:

  • Automated speed enforcement devices
  • Ignition interlock devices
  • Motorcycle helmet laws
  • Cell phone bans
  • Seat belt laws
  • Three-tiered driver's licensing system
  • Vehicle blind spot monitoring technology
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Automatic emergency braking technology
  • Lane departure warning systems

You may be thinking that many of these measures already exist. That's true, but enforcement and implementation on a large scale remains slow. In the meantime, more people continue to die and suffer serious injuries.

If you didn't beat the odds, you have rights

If you find yourself seriously injured or grieving for the loss of a loved one due to a car accident, you do have rights. A review of the circumstances surrounding your crash may identify a party or parties who bear legal liability for your situation. You may receive compensation through a successfully negotiated or litigated claim. To give yourself the best chance at success, you may benefit from finding out more about your options and your next steps.

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