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Auto deaths rising, but distracted driving is on the decline

The United States National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration published automobile death statistics regarding 2016. The data reveals that more people died in 2016 compared to 2015. With 37,461 motor vehicle deaths in total, this figure represents a 5.6 percent increase from the year before.

In spite of the increase in vehicle-related deaths, there are two positive points to these statistics: (1) the increase was less than the frightening 8.4 percent death increase experienced in 2015, and (2) it appears that drowsy driving and texting while driving are on the decline.

What's to blame for the continued increase in auto deaths?

One might suppose that -- with all the new safety technology and decreases in drowsy, and texting while, driving -- we would see an overall decrease in motor vehicle deaths. So, why are deaths still rising on America's roads?

It appears that we can blame the deaths on drunk driving, speeding and lack of seatbelt use. As difficult as it is to believe, 4.9 percent more vehicle failed to use seatbelts in 2016, 1.7 percent more people decided to drive drunk and 4 percent more people decided to speed in 2016 as compared to 2015.

It's sad that drivers and vehicle occupants would consciously choose to engage in these risky behaviors, but the facts are the facts. Even worse, this negligence and unlawfulness appear to be cutting American lives short.

More pedestrians and bicyclists died, too

Deaths related to non-vehicle drivers and occupants increased. Nine percent more pedestrians were killed by vehicles in 2016 -- with pedestrians having reached the highest number of vehicle accident related deaths since 1990. Meanwhile, bicyclist deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents reached their highest level since 1991.

Are you ready to start playing it safe, America?

There is no better reason to follow the law, drive safely and use common sense on the road than the benefit of saving lives. Nevertheless, countless Americans ignore the rules and/or negligently endanger the lives of their fellow man when they get behind the wheel. If you or a loved one was hurt or killed by one of these negligent or reckless motorists, you may want to learn more about your legal right to pursue financial compensation in civil court.

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