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The increase in traffic deaths

Motorists in West Virginia should be aware that 2016 is believed to be the deadliest year for drivers in the United States in almost a decade. Increased driving, which has been spurred by a better economy and lower gas prices, coupled with dangerous driving behaviors have contributed to traffic fatality rates.

According to early data released by the National Safety Council, an estimated 40,200 people were killed as a result of a motor vehicle crash. The figure represents a 6 percent increase from the traffic deaths recorded in 2015.

Although the number of deaths due to crashes is substantial, there are millions more, approximately 4.6 million in 2016, who are seriously injured. The crashes also cost society money as well. According to the NSC, the cost of motor vehicle fatalities, property damage and injures in 2016 was an estimated $432 billion, an increase of 12 percent from 2015. Included in the costs were medical expenses, losses in productivity and wages, employer costs, administrative expenses and property damage.

In October of 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released statistics for the first six months of 2016 that showed a similar trend in traffic deaths. According to its data, there were 17,775 traffic fatalities in the first half of the year, a 10.4 percent rise from the same period in 2015. The methods for calculating traffic deaths differ between the NHTSA and the NSC. The NSC includes traffic and non-traffic deaths that occur no more than a year after an accident, while the NHSTA counts traffic deaths that occur within 30 days.

Individuals who sustain injuries in a motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence of another driver may have legal recourse. An attorney can often be of assistance in seeking appropriate compensation, either through a settlement with the at-fault motorist's insurance company or at a jury trial.

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