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3 primary causes blamed for spike in traffic fatalities

Safely navigating roadways in California is often a challenge, and figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 2015 was significantly more dangerous than the year before. Deaths attributed to motor vehicle crashes reached 35,092 in 2015, a 7.2 percent increase from 2014. The NHTSA cited three factors that contributed to the increase in deaths.

Failure to wear seat belts continues to be a major factor in traffic deaths. According to the NHTSA, nearly half of all victims of roadway fatalities in 2015 did not buckle up. Negligent driving behavior also played a major role in the increase. About 30 percent of fatal accidents in 2015 involved speeding or intoxicated driving.

The NHTSA pointed out that lower fuel prices and higher employment have increased the number of people driving. More people on the road translates into more vehicle miles traveled, which grew by 3.5 percent since 2014. This rise represented the largest increase in almost a quarter century.

With more people on the road, people face a greater risk of being involved in a wreck. When negligent drivers cause car accidents, the injured victims could exercise their legal right to pursue damages. A person left with medical bills and lost income after being hit by a drunk or distracted driver may want to talk to an attorney. To help someone collect compensation, an attorney may identify evidence of negligence and prepare the court paperwork. Before going to court, an attorney could approach the responsible parties and discuss a settlement. If the driver resists paying damages or an insurance company denies a claim, then the attorney could advance the case to the courtroom and advocate for the victim's needs.

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