NHTSA report shows surge in traffic accident deaths

Cheaper gas, more jobs and an economy that continues to grow after years of recession have led to a surge in the number of road users. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the roads in Pennsylvania and other states were busier in 2015 than they were in 2014. More traffic means more accidents, and a report from the federal safety agency released on Aug. 29 reveals that 35,092 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2015. This represents a 7.2 percent increase over 2014 figures.

While crashes may sometimes be caused by poor weather conditions or vehicle malfunctions, the NHTSA report indicates that most car accident cases involve some sort of negligent behavior. Almost half of all road users killed in 2016 were not wearing safety belts, and intoxication or excessive speed were factors in 30 percent of fatal crashes.

Most economic forecasters believe that oil prices will remain low for the foreseeable future, and the NHTSA hopes that its report will serve as a call to action. The safety agency points out that automakers are doing their part by including safety features like traction control and stability assist in many new vehicles.

In addition to innovative safety features and systems, car manufacturers also fit data recording devices to most new cars and light trucks sold in the United States. Crash investigators and insurance companies may examine this data to determine what occurred in the moments leading up to an automobile collision, and this information could also be used by personal injury attorneys to establish negligence in car accident lawsuits. Other types of electronic evidence that may be used in car accident cases include the cell phone records of the drivers involved and footage captured by nearby surveillance cameras.