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The Number of Car Accidents In the United States Continues To Rise

The National Safety Council reports that 40,200 people died in motor vehicle accidents across the United States in 2016. That is a six percent increase over the fatalities in 2015. The number of fatalities in 2015 was seven percent higher than the 2014 traffic deaths. The two-year increase resulted in the highest number of automobile-related deaths in a single year since 2007. The year with the highest number of motor vehicle-related deaths was 1973.

After 54,589 people died on American roads that year, improved safety features and government-mandated regulations were implemented to make roads safer. The number of car accidents and deaths had declined for the most part since that time, leaving many experts to wonder why car accidents and motor vehicle deaths are now increasing.

Why are motor vehicle accidents increasing?

A recent study by the Highway Loss Data Institute claims the states that have legalized marijuana have experienced an almost three percent increase in automobile accidents. A car accident lawyer can advise individuals who have lost a loved one due to an impaired driver on their legal options. Driving under the influence of any psychoactive drug can increase the risk of having an accident. However, the increase in motor vehicle accidents is occurring across the country, including areas that have not passed legislation legalizing marijuana.

Technology is a double-edged sword

A New York Times article suggests that the improving economy, lower gasoline prices, and more drivers distracted by electronic devices could be at the root of the problem. Rapid advancements in technology have brought electronic stability control systems to more automobiles and improvements in automotive designs. Technology has also provided Americans with more ways to stay connected to social media and to watch their favorite movies and television shows.

Jonathan Adkins is executive director at the Governors Highway Safety Association. Adkins says the problem goes beyond people just talking on their phones while driving. They are now sending text messages and using social media apps like Facebook and Snapchat while driving. These highly engaging apps can lead people to take their eyes off the road and their mental focus away from driving.

Speeding remains a major problem

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Many states are raising speed limits and most are dealing with budget cuts that result in fewer law enforcement personnels to catch speeders, distracted drivers, and impaired drivers before their behavior results in car accidents and more deaths.

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