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Car crash fatalities increased in 2016

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recently released a report on fatal vehicle crashes in 2016. There are some unexpected findings.

The number of fatal car accidents rose 5.6 percent over the prior year, which is more than twice the jump in overall traffic. Accidents involving motorcyclists rose over 5 percent, while those involving pedestrians jumped 9 percent.

Interestingly, the number of fatalities caused by distracted drivers was down by 2.2 percent. Distracted driving can involve anything from texting and talking on the phone to using the car's on-board infotainment system and more.

So if distracted driving, which is probably one of the most widely-discussed causes of collisions and still the fourth most common cause of fatal crashes, isn't the reason for the increase, what is? We have to look to the top three causes of fatalities on the road. Sadly, they aren't new.

Drunk driving was the number one factor. It was at least partly responsible for nearly 10,500 deaths.

Failure to wear a seat belt contributed to over 10,400 deaths. The percentage of fatalities in this category rose from 4.0 to 4.6 percent. Speeding caused over 10,000 deaths.

Pedestrians as well as drivers have to constantly be aware of what's going on around them, even when they have the right of way. You never know when a driver isn't paying attention or is driving too fast to avoid a crash. Pedestrians can easily be seriously injured or killed by a negligent or reckless driver. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a crash, you can and should determine what your rights are to compensation by the at-fault driver.

Source: The Car Connection, "NHTSA: Fatal car crashes rising, but not because of cell phones," A. Mark Miller, Oct. 09, 2017

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