Traffic deaths are on the rise

On Oct. 5, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released estimates regarding the number of deaths on roadways across the nation during the first half of 2016. Statistics showed that the number of fatalities for the first six months increased by about 10 percent over the same period in 2015. The agency's findings indicate that 2016 could see the largest percentage increase in vehicle-related deaths in about 50 years, and California motorists should take heed.

The data was released as the U.S. Department of Transportation announced an initiative that the government hopes will reverse this increase. Patterned in part on a Swedish effort that has been highly effective, The Road to Zero Coalition will work to completely eliminate roadway fatalities over the next 30 years.

The introduction of self-driving cars could ultimately prove to be of great benefit to these efforts as current data supports the attribution of 94 percent of traffic-related deaths to driver error. Although an era without drivers might dramatically reduce the number of incidents related to negligent driving, however, motorists cannot assume that more widespread dependence on autonomous cars will result in a crash-free world.

Factors that push the number of fatalities on the road higher in all categories continue to exist, and people who have lost a loved one in a fatal motor vehicle accident that was caused by the negligence of another driver may want to meet with an attorney to see if any recourse is available. One way to seek compensation for the losses that they have sustained could be to file a wrongful death lawsuit against that motorist.

Source: Washington Post, "Nearly 18,000 Killed on U.S. Roadways Between January and June," Ashley Halsey III and Michael Laris, Oct. 5, 2016

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