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Traffic fatalities climb as more people get behind the wheel

With gas prices cheaper and the economy doing better over the last year, people started to get back in their cars and spent more time driving. Unfortunately, more people on the road combined with an increase in distracted driving and increasing speeds led to a huge increase in traffic fatalities for 2016.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 40,200 people died on roads across the U.S. in 2016, a 6 percent increase over 2015. It was the first time since 2007 that fatalities topped the 40,000 mark.

A deadly combination of distraction, speed and alcohol

Experts point to the increasing role that smartphones play in our everyday lives as a key source of the increasing accidents. Too many people refuse to put down their phones while driving. Additionally, many states are continuing to raise the speed limits on their interstate highways.

Additionally, as the economy improves, people are continuing to go out more, which means it is likely that more people are getting behind the wheel after drinking too much.

A former head of the National Transportation Safety Council said Americans simply accept that there will be a high amount of traffic fatalities every year instead of wanting to do anything to fix the problem. She warned that the problem will continue to get worse.

What can be done?

The NSC recommends several possible fixes that they think could reduce the amount of accidents. They recommend more automatic technology, such as cameras, to enforce speeding laws; a total ban on all phones and hands-free devices for drivers and increased enforcement; increased enforcement of seat belt laws; mandatory ignition interlock usage for convicted drunk drivers; increased investment in vehicle safety technology; and increased scrutiny on teenage drivers.

What an increase in fatalities means for you

With more people and trucks on highways in Indiana, there is no doubt that you need to exercise more caution while driving. An accident on an interstate highway or other road with a high speed limit could mean serious injuries or even death.

If you are in an accident, one of the most important things you can do is contact a personal injury attorney. If someone was texting while driving, breaking traffic laws or driving drunk, your lawyer will be able to help you determine the best course of action to recover the compensation that you deserve for your medical bills and other losses.

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