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Traffic fatality rate for 2015 may have risen sharply

Although the automobile has been around for just over a century, it has undergone an amazing evolution in that time. As car designs improve and new safety technology is adopted, car accident fatality and injury rates continue to decline. Unfortunately, however, the most dangerous hazards we face are the poor choices that other drivers make behind the wheel.

A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that during the first nine months of 2015, traffic fatality rates were an estimated 9.3 percent higher than they were during the same period in 2014. Although 2015 numbers are still preliminary, this spike in car accident deaths represents a big step in the wrong direction.

It is difficult to believe that such an increase could be occurring naturally. Instead, it seems likely that driver behaviors are largely to blame. Rates of self-reported distracted driving do not seem to be declining, despite a wide body of research showing just how dangerous distraction is. Like most states, Michigan has banned texting while driving, but use of handheld cellphones remains legal.

Another culprit is drunk driving. Since the 1970s, nearly every state has passed increasingly strict laws and penalties related to drunk driving. But even though rates of DUI have decreased since then, drunk-driving accidents are tragically common. It is estimated that about 10,000 people are killed each year in alcohol-related crashes on U.S. roads.

It doesn't matter how safe our cars become if drivers continue to make dangerous and deadly choices. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a drunk, distracted or otherwise negligent driver, please discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.

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