Increasing numbers of traffic fatalities

A car accident on a North Carolina road can be a traumatic experience, especially if there is a fatality. For many years, the national statistics related to traffic deaths had been improving, but 2015 changed this significantly. The first nine months of the year had in excess of 26,000 deaths in auto accidents, more than 2,000 more than during the same span of time in 2014.

Increases in numbers of fatal motor vehicle accidents varied in different regions of the country. For example, the increase was approximately 20 percent in the nation's northwestern states. In the South Central and mid-Atlantic areas, the increase was much smaller at just 2 percent in each region. As a whole, the increases are troubling because of the decline in fatalities of more than 20 percent between 2000 and 2014.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is responding with concern to the latest data, referring to the trends as red flags that warrant prompt attention. The NHTSA views the situation as one requiring efforts to address behavioral issues in driving. Some of the areas that may be addressed include seat belt use and drunk driving. The agency has noted that human factors are at play in an estimated 94 percent of accidents, which means that reducing accident numbers will require efforts such as educational initiatives.

A fatal accident is typically investigated by local authorities, who work to identify causes contributing to the incident. In addition to evaluating driver errors and other human issues involved, there may be a review of the mechanical equipment, road conditions, weather and other factors that could have contributed. If it can be determined that the negligence of another driver was the cause, the decedent's surviving family members may want to meet with an attorney to discuss the possibility of filing a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for their losses.

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