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2016 sees 9-year high in car crash fatalities

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, last year a total of 37,461 people (including drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians) died in car accidents around the country. This was a nine-year high, exceeded only by the 41,259 people who died in 2007, and the figures might alarm some California motorists.

This has discouraged some who recall that it had been the Obama administration's goal to eliminate car crash fatalities in the next 30 years, mainly with the help of self-driving vehicles. The goal still remains, as last July the U.S. House approved a measure that would grant automakers exemptions to deploy self-driving vehicles without meeting current auto safety standards. In the meantime, the NHTSA has stated that it is working with law enforcement agencies as well as with state and local partners to address the bad choices that cause serious crashes.

These choices include speeding, which caused 4 percent more deaths in 2016, and driving under the influence, which contributed to 1.7 percent more deaths. Drivers and passengers without safety belts made up 4.6 percent more of the casualties. Distracted driving deaths dropped by 2.2 percent, though there is still the concern that new technologies, such as in-car touchscreen systems, are endangering road users.

When someone dies through a driver's negligence, family members might want to turn to an attorney who has experience with car accident lawsuits. The attorney could hire investigators to reconstruct the accident scene and review police reports and other evidence. If successful, a wrongful death suit could compensate the family for pre-death medical bills, funeral expenses, and loss of support or consortium.

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