Traffic deaths increased in 2015

Missouri motorists might be interested in learning that the number of traffic fatalities around the country increased in 2015 by 7.2 percent over the number of people who were killed in 2014. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this was the largest single-year percentage increase since 1966.

The number of traffic fatalities had steadily decreased over the past decade, so safety experts find the increase in 2015 to be alarming. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx reacted by issuing a call for research into why the fatality numbers have increased and how they might be reduced.

According to the NHTSA, 39,042 people were killed in motor vehicle collisions in 2015. While this is higher than the number for 2014, it is still 25 percent lower than the 42,708 people who died in accidents a decade ago. The numbers have increased partly because more people are on the nation’s roadways due to improved economic conditions and lower gas prices. The NHTSA also points to several problematic behaviors that contributed to 2015’s numbers, including drunk driving, speeding, being distracted while behind the wheel and failing to wear seat belts.

When people are traveling, it is important for the drivers to use caution and to remain alert to the road and traffic around them. Doing so might help to lessen the risk of accident involvement. Unfortunately, people will continue to die in accidents that are caused by the negligence of other motorists. When that happens, the decedent’s surviving family members may want to have legal assistance in seeking compensation for their losses through the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver.