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Traffic fatalities increased in 2015

West Virginia motorists may want to be more alert on the roads after reading some statistics that have been released by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. According to the NHTSA, 2015 saw a 7.2 percent jump in fatalities compared to the previous year. In total, some 35,092 people died on the roads. The nation's transportation secretary put out a call for scientists and specialists to perform additional research and analysis of the problem.

Experts noted a number of factors that could have contributed to the increased fatality rates. These included the fact that about 50 percent of passengers who perished weren't wearing seat belts at the time of their accidents. Distraction played a role in around 10 percent of the fatalities, and drunken driving and excessive speed accounted for approximately 30 percent of the traffic deaths.

Another potentially pertinent issue was that in 2015, the amount of miles traveled by vehicles jumped by 3.5 percent from the previous year, which was the biggest upswing in more than two decades. Although fatalities were notably higher 10 years ago, improvements like drunken driving reduction, vehicle safety features and seat belt usage were previously able to reduce death rates.

As the statistics show, far too many fatal traffic accidents are caused by drunk drivers. The family members of a person who is killed in such an accident often have to cope with significant financial issues, both immediately and in the long term, in addition to their grief. They may want to meet with a personal injury attorney to see if a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the at-fault driver would be an appropriate way of seeking compensation for their losses.

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