According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic deaths jumped 9.3 percent over the first nine months of 2015 around the country compared to the same period in 2014. The rise was surprising because crash-related deaths in California and across the U.S. have been in decline for many years.
The NHTSA report estimates that more than 26,000 people were killed in auto wrecks from January through September last year. In comparison, there were 23,796 traffic-related deaths during the first three quarters of 2014. Different regions of the country showed a range of increases, from a 2 percent jump in the mid-Atlantic states to a 16 percent rise in the Southeast to a 20 percent leap in the Northwest. The increase in traffic fatalities comes after more than a decade of steady declines, including a 1.2 percent drop in 2014. Car accident deaths decreased 22 percent between 2000 and 2014.
In response to the report, the NHTSA said it needs to do more to address traffic safety. The agency launched a series of regional summits that spotlight human choices and risky behaviors that contribute to traffic deaths across the nation. The new initiatives will focus on everything from wearing seat belts to drunk driving awareness. According to the agency’s data, human error is a contributing factor in 94 percent of all car wrecks.
Car accidents cause thousands of injuries and deaths in California each year. In many cases, they are the result of a distracted, drunk or otherwise negligent driver. An injured victim in such an accident may want to have legal assistance in seeking compensation for medical expenses and other losses.
Source: Insurance Journal, “U.S. Traffic Deaths Up 9%,” Feb. 10, 2016