After declining since 2000, the latest data indicates that the number of traffic accident deaths is once again on the rise. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there has been a "steep" increase in traffic deaths during the first nine months of 2015 (the latest data available).
More about the data
Specifically, the data showed that there was a 9.3 percent increase in motor vehicle accident deaths during the first nine months of 2015 over the same period in 2014. All in all, 26,000 lives were lost during these nine months. Unfortunately, the data also showed that these deaths are likely preventable, as most of them were caused by human factors. Some examples of contributing factors included:
· Speeding. In 2012 alone, the NHTSA reported that 10,219 people were killed as a result of speeding. The NHTSA considers a death in an accident to be speed-related if the accident report mentions that the driver was racing, exceeding the speed limit, driving too fast given the conditions, or was charged with a speed-related offense (e.g. reckless driving).
· Driving under the influence. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 30 people in the United States are killed each day in collisions involving a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs.
· Driving while distracted. Also, CDC data indicates that distracted driving kills an average of nine persons each day in the U.S. "Distracted driving" is defined as voluntarily engaging in virtually any activity while driving that interferes with a driver's visual (i.e. taking a driver's eyes off the road), manual (i.e. taking the hands off the wheel) or cognitive (i.e. mental distractions) abilities. Common tasks that qualify as distracted driving include talking on a cellphone, reading or sending text messages or eating.
Drivers that engage in any of these activities unnecessarily put other drivers in danger. In many cases, the driver may face criminal penalties, as many of these activities are prohibited by Massachusetts law. Regardless of whether the driver faces criminal charges, if someone else is hurt or killed as a result of the driver's negligent behavior, the driver may be held accountable in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. In injury cases , the injured party may recover losses such as loss of income, medical bills and pain and suffering. In cases where the injured party is killed, the family of the deceased may recover compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of the deceased's income and other losses.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a negligent driver, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will advise you of your rights and work to secure the compensation you are entitled to by law.