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February 2016 marked the first time in many years that the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the previous year’s traffic death rate had risen instead of fallen. According to the NHTSA data, the more than 26,000 motor fatalities that occurred in the first nine months of 2015 represented an overall increase of 9.3 percent from the corresponding period in 2014. The agency highlighted a number of potential contributing factors and stated it needs to do more to improve road safety in New Jersey and other states.
The NHTSA administrator said that the agency would start with campaigns designed to tackle known problems, like vehicle occupants not using seat belts and people driving while under the influence of alcohol. The agency’s research has shown that 94 percent of all accidents are believed to be influenced by human factors.
While traffic deaths across the nation rose as a whole, some areas were hit harder than others. The Northwest and the Southeast experienced 20 and 16 percent spikes, respectively, but deaths only rose by 2 percent in states in the South Central and mid-Atlantic regions.
Many elements contribute to vehicle accidents, such as neglect, intoxication, speed and sleepiness. These factors can also impact the severity of the car accidents they cause. Incidents like rear-end collisions at low speeds may result in simple property damage, while getting T-boned in an intersection could cause lasting harm to a vehicle’s occupants. Because the costs of recovery, such as repair fees and medical bills, can represent significant financial burdens, victims and their families may wish to learn how the circumstances of their accidents impact their legal right to pursue compensation.