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Traffic fatalities increased in 2015

Connecticut motorists may have read sobering data from the National Highway Traffic Administration regarding the amount of traffic deaths during 2015. According to the report, there were at least 35,000 traffic deaths during that year, which was a jump of slightly more than 7 percent from 2014. Such a large increase has not occurred since 1966.

Although 42,708 traffic-related fatalities occurred in 2006, there had been a steady decline since then because of a number of factors including improved safety features in vehicles, fewer intoxicated drivers and an increased use of seat belts. However, the growing rate of jobs and lower gas prices have lead to more vehicles on the roads in 2015, which increased the risk for accidents. According to the government data, there was a 3.5 percent increase from 2014 to 2015 in the amount of vehicle miles traveled. This was the highest increase in almost 25 years.

When there are more drivers on the roadways, cyclists and pedestrians are in danger of being killed. In fact, motorcycle fatalities increased by nearly 10 percent, according to the report. Statistics showed that in 2015, distracted drivers were a factor in about 10 percent of the fatal accidents, and speeding and impaired drivers were involved in about 30 percent of the fatal wrecks.

Traffic accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries that sometimes end up being fatal. The surviving family members of a person who is killed often face severe financial issues in addition to their grief, such as funeral and burial expenses. When the decedent was the family breadwinner, those contributions somehow need to be replaced as well. If the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, an attorney could help the family seek appropriate compensation for those losses through a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the motorist who was at fault.

Source: NPR, "Traffic Deaths In 2015 Climb By Largest Increase In Decades", Richard Gonzales, Aug. 29, 2016

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