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More than 40,000 people died on U.S. roads in 2016

New Orleans motorists may be disturbed to learn that there were more than 40,000 U.S. traffic fatalities in 2016, according to preliminary estimates released by the National Safety Council on Feb. 15. If the number is not revised downward, it would be the first time U.S. traffic deaths have crossed the 40,000 threshold since 2007.

The NSC estimates that 40,200 people died on U.S. roads last year, which is a 6 percent jump from 2015. The council said that low gas prices and the rebounding economy were factors in the increase. Traffic fatalities had also spiked 7.2 percent in 2015 from the previous year, which was the largest one-year increase in 50 years.

While U.S. roads are much safer than they used to be, traffic safety advocates warn that deaths are trending in the wrong direction and that society has become too complacent about preventing accidents. A representative of the Governors Highway Safety Association said that the best way to reverse the trend is through strong traffic laws, high visibility enforcement and public education and awareness. According to the NCS, the combined cost of traffic fatalities, injuries and property damage was over $432 billion in 2016.

When someone is killed in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, the surviving family members may want to meet with an attorney to discuss the advisability of filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault motorist. Damages that are often sought include reimbursement of funeral and burial expenses, loss of consortium and loss of financial contribution, depending upon the circumstances.

Source: CNN Money, "Traffic deaths expected to have hit troubling milestone", Matt McFarland, Feb. 15, 2017

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