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Fatal car accidents on the rise in 2016

It is not uncommon to drive down the roads and highways in Ocala and see two or more cars pulled over on the side of the road due to an accident. Some of these accidents are mere 'fender benders' and more of an annoyance than anything else. However, other car accidents can be absolutely devastating, causing serious injuries and fatalities. And, if it seems like such accidents are becoming more prevalent, that may be true.

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, there has been an upsurge in the number of fatalities on America's roads. According to the latest figures, in 2015 over 35,000 people lost their lives in accidents on public roads. This represents an increase of 7.2 percent compared to 2014. To put it in perspective, that's an average of 672 fatalities weekly.

The increase in deadly accidents impacted nearly all types of vehicles that use the road. For example, SUV fatalities rose 10.1 percent in 2015. Passenger-car occupant fatalities rose 5.7 percent. Van occupant fatalities rose 9.3 percent. Pickup truck occupant fatalities rose 4.7 percent. Motorcycle fatalities rose 8.3 percent. Further, pedestrian deaths rose 9.5 percent and bicyclist deaths rose over 12 percent.

Some causes of the increase in fatalities may be an upswing in the economy and a downswing in the price of gasoline. More people are on the roads commuting to work, thereby earning more money to spend on gas. At an average of $2.22 per gallon, gas prices, as of the date of this post, are approximately 16 percent lower than they were in 2015. Also, it is thought by some that the use of smartphones while driving may also have played a role in the increase in fatalities, as has drunk driving and failure to wear seat belts.

As there are still over three months to go before the end of 2016, the number of traffic fatalities will likely grow worse. We should not become complacent to fatal accidents. All drivers need to exercise due care while driving, for their safety and the safety of others. If a driver causes a fatal car accident, his or her negligence has not only ended a life, but has caused immeasurable pain and suffering for the deceased's loved ones who may want to pursue a wrongful death suit to recover for their losses.

Source: Car and Driver, "What's Driving the Massive Surge in Traffic Deaths?," Pete Bigelow, Sept. 1, 2016

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