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Highway traffic deaths remain over 40,000 in the past year

While traffic deaths in the U.S. declined slightly in 2018, the overall number remains much higher than it was four years ago. For the past three years, the figure has risen to over 40,000 per year. A few reasons have been given for the increase. By taking the necessary precautions, drivers in Louisiana could help reverse the tide.

A number of nonprofit organizations dealing with the issue of highway safety have reported the statistics. Data is compiled annually by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The upward trend began several years ago. Though deaths dropped 1 percent last year, the annual figure is higher than at the beginning of the decade. In particular, deaths among pedestrians showed a significant increase.

Distracted driving has been cited as a major factor in the increase. Smartphone use and the number of vehicles with infotainment systems have risen in recent years. According to data, distracted driving is a factor in up to 8 percent of fatal crashes. Drowsy driving is cited as a factor in another 2 percent.

On the other hand, crash avoidance systems are becoming more common in vehicles on the road. These systems include audible signals to warn a driver when he or she comes too close to another vehicle. Furthermore, new emergency braking systems can automatically apply the brakes when a collision is imminent or a vehicle drifts from its lane. To date, however, these systems have not been able to reverse the trend of the past few years.

While early warning or crash avoidance systems are excellent safety features, these are not meant to substitute for attentive driving. Driving while distracted can lead to disastrous consequences, even a fatality. Someone who has been hurt by a negligent driver may want to reach out to a personal injury attorney. Legal counsel could help fight for compensation covering damages.

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