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Government safety plan aims for no traffic deaths in future

Michigan drivers may be interested to learn that on Oct. 5, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a traffic safety plan. The early stages of the plan call for increasing rumble strips, grooves or bumps in the road that warn drivers when they veer out of their lane, and for raising awareness about the importance of wearing seat belts. There will also be increased efforts to educate the public about the dangers of driving while drunk or distracted. Ultimately, the goal of the agency is to have no deaths or injuries from motor vehicle accidents in 30 years.

The plan, modeled on a Swedish initiative from 1997 called Vision Zero, will be assisted with safety technology and the eventual implementation of fully autonomous vehicles. With 94 percent of accidents partly caused by human factors, these vehicles should play a significant roles in eliminating accidents that cause injuries or death.

Throughout the country, traffic fatalities are on the rise. In the first six months of 2016, there was roughly a 9 percent increase in traffic-related deaths compared to the first half of 2015, and 2015 saw an overall 7.2 percent increase in fatalities compared to the previous year. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that agencies, drivers, industry and others would need to shift their thinking about safety in order to achieve the new goals.

Car accidents caused by negligent drivers may result in serious injuries to others, and people might have a long recovery period or might never fully recover. They might miss a great deal of work or be unable to ever work again. Medical expenses, the costs of repairing a vehicle and lost income all add up, and the offer of compensation from the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident may be too low. If this happens, the injured person might want to contact an attorney to discuss filing a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist.

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