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Rising Traffic Fatalities Put All San Diego Road Users at Risk

Motor vehicle fatalities increased significantly last year, according to preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency estimates that 35,200 people died in crashes in 2015, up from the 32,675 reported fatalities in 2014.

The rise in fatalities is concerning, particularly given that traffic deaths had been trending downward in recent years. In fact, the 7.7 percent increase in 2015 represents the largest increase since 1966. Also concerning, the biggest jump in fatalities involved motorcyclists (9 percent increase), pedestrians (10 percent increase), and pedalcyclists (13 percent increase).

California was not immune to the increase in motor vehicle fatalities, as deaths were up in nine of ten regions across the country. In our region, which includes California and Arizona, traffic deaths rose six percent.

“As the economy has improved and gas prices have fallen, more Americans are driving more miles,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. “But that only explains part of the increase. Ninety-four percent of crashes can be tied back to a human choice or error, so we know we need to focus our efforts on improving human behavior while promoting vehicle technology that not only protects people in crashes, but helps prevent crashes in the first place.”

In response to the spike in traffic fatalities, NHTSA is working to develop new tools that could improve behavioral challenges including drunk, drugged, distracted and drowsy driving; speeding; and failure to use safety features such as seat belts and child seats. The agency also plans to launch new initiatives to protect vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

As San Diego injury lawyers, we have seen firsthand how devastating it can be to lose a loved one in a motor vehicle crash. While no amount of money can replace a family member, we can help hold negligent parties responsible for their actions.

If you or someone you care about has suffered serious injury in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. After a serious California crash, we can advocate on your behalf to help hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions and seek the compensation you deserve.