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Motor vehicle accident injuries, deaths on the rise

In Pennsylvania and throughout the United States, the danger of being in a car crash and suffering injuries and fatalities is well-known. However, research is showing that the dangers are on the rise. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released its statistics for fatalities on the road in 2016 and the results are troubling. It found an increase in the number of deaths for a variety of reasons. Those who are hurt in a crash should be cognizant of the statistics and the explanations as to why the accidents happened to prepare to seek compensation in a legal filing.

According to the NHTSA, nearly 37,500 people died in road accidents in the United States in 2016. That was a 5.6 percent rise from the previous year and was close to 2,000 more fatalities. The number of people killed in a passenger vehicle or on a motorcycle was the highest since 2008. People in vans died at an 8.4 percent higher rate than in 2015. There was a 9 percent increase in pedestrian deaths. And the number of bicyclists who died was the highest in 25 years.

As it strives to explain why this is the case, the NHTSA states that numerous factors are important. An improved economy and cheaper gas has allowed more people to take to the road. Even with that, there is a statistical gap between the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and the fatality rate, meaning there are other reasons for the increase in deaths. Reckless driving is a concern. So too is drivers operating under the influence. 28 percent of the deaths were believed to have been related to alcohol use. People between the ages of 21 and 34 accounted for half of the alcohol-related deaths. Other factors mentioned were drivers failing to wear seatbelts and helmetless motorcyclists. Deaths due to speeding rose by around 4 percent. Distracted driving is also referenced as a growing factor.

As technology and vigilance on the part of law enforcement and legislators improves, the idea is that driver safety will improve commensurately. These numbers show that not to be the case. When there is a car crash, people can suffer injuries, need medical care, have lost wages and experience multiple short and long-term problems. If there is a fatality, the issues can be made exponentially worse. Those who are affected by a crash should be aware of their rights to seek compensation. Speaking to a legal professional who understands motor vehicle accident injuries and deaths can help with filing a case to be compensated.

Source: cbsnews.com, "Driving just got a lot deadlier," Ed Leefeldt, Oct. 10, 2017

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