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Motor vehicle fatalities rise in 2015

California drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcyclists might be interested to learn that in 2015, there were 35,092 traffic accident fatalities around the country. This was a 7.2 percent jump from the previous year and represented the largest percentage increase in 50 years. The rate had been steadily decreasing in recent years, and experts attribute that drop to better use of seat belts, increased safety technology and less drunk driving.

The secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation has urged researchers, data scientists and safety experts to analyze the data to come up with ways to lower the fatality rate. Experts have cited a number of reasons for the increase. One is an improved economy leading to more jobs and lower gas prices meaning that more cars were on the road. In fact, in 2015, vehicle miles traveled had the highest percentage increase over the previous year in more than two decades.

Nearly half of the people killed in these 2015 accidents were not wearing seat belts. About 10 percent of the fatalities had distracted driving as a factor, and in about 30 percent of cases, drunk driving or speeding was involved.

Even when not fatal, car accidents can leave people with catastrophic injuries. In many cases, injured victims need lengthy and expensive medical care and treatment, and some may never be able to ever return to work. If it can be determined that the accident was due to the negligence of another motorist, such as one who was impaired or speeding, an attorney can often assist an injured victim in seeking compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.

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