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Posted by: Henness & Haight

The National Safety Council (NSC) has released preliminary data that shows U.S. traffic fatalities in 2016 increased to the highest amount in nearly a decade.

In 2016, approximately 40,200 motorists and pedestrians were killed in auto accidents throughout the U.S., the first time the fatality rate has surpassed 40,000 since 2007. The number of fatalities may increase once all data has been confirmed.

Last year’s number of traffic fatalities marks a six percent increase compared to 2015, and a 14 percent growth since 2014 which is the largest increase within a two-year period in more than 50 years.

Traffic safety advocates believe the increase in auto accident deaths can partially be attributed to economic improvements that allowed more people to choose driving as an option for long-distance commuting. As more drivers on the road caused the number of miles traveled to increase, the number of fatal accidents increased as well.

NSC officials, however, have stated that drivers have begun to exhibit increasingly dangerous behaviors when operating vehicles and that the complacent belief that car accidents are inevitable also contributed to the 2016 traffic fatality count.

The NSC surveyed 2,000 drivers over the age of 21-years-old to evaluate the mentality motorists have toward risky driving behaviors.

The participants revealed conflicting beliefs on acceptable driving behavior, as 83 percent said they view driving as a concern to their safety, yet the majority admitted to having engaged in several high-risk behaviors while operating a vehicle:

  • 64 percent of participants are comfortable with speeding
  • 47 percent of participants admit to regularly texting while driving
  • 13 percent of participants believe they can safely drive while impaired by marijuana
  • 10 percent of participants have driven after feeling like they had consumed too much alcohol

Both the NSC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have stated that improvements in driver awareness must be made to create safer roads, particularly when it comes to distracted driving.

A recent AAA study revealed that a large majority of drivers of all ages routinely violate traffic safety laws and engage in distracting behavior, like texting while driving.

Another approach advocated by traffic safety officials is increasing the number of newly manufactured vehicles with advanced technology, such as automatic braking and vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology, which has been shown to lower the chances of being in a severe auto accident.

In Nevada, there were 327 motorists and pedestrians killed in auto accidents during 2016, compared to 326 deaths in 2015. Although the state’s auto fatality count only increased by one, it is still an unacceptable and avoidable loss.

If you lost someone you loved in a car accident caused by another’s recklessness or negligence, we may be able to help. As experienced Las Vegas car accident attorneys, we have helped thousands of accident victims and their families recover damages lost in an auto collision. Your initial consultation is always free, and we will not charge you any legal fees unless we help you recover compensation.