Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Big jump in traffic fatalities in 2015

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Virginia motorists may have done more driving in 2015 than they did in 2014, if national statistics hold in that state. Last year, job growth and lower gas prices contributed to the largest year-to-year increase in vehicle miles traveled around the country in almost 25 years. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 3.5 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled had a significant impact on the number of traffic fatalities in 2015.

Though the number of traffic deaths in 2015 was lower than it had been a decade earlier, it was still a big increase compared to data from 2014. There were 35,092 people killed in car accidents in 2015, and the 7.2 percent increase in traffic deaths from 2014 to 2015 was the biggest year-over-year increase in traffic deaths since 1966. However, fatalities were still 25 percent lower in 2015 than they were 10 years before.

The NHTSA announced the 2015 data in a press release and called on researchers, data scientists and safety experts to analyze the data and look for ways to prevent fatal car accidents. According to the NHTSA, there are three major factors that led to traffic deaths in 2015. Nearly 50 percent of people killed were not wearing seat belts, 30 percent of traffic fatalities involved a speeder or drunk driver and 10 percent of car accident deaths involved a distracted driver.

A fatal car accident can leave the surviving family members of a person who was killed in severe financial circumstances in addition to their grief. In many cases they must find a way to replace the contributions that the breadwinner was making. When the accident was caused by another motorist who was speeding, distracted or impaired, a wrongful death lawsuit filed with the assistance of an attorney can be one way of seeking compensation.

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