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Startling increase in traffic deaths

Based on information released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 35,092 people died as a result of vehicle accidents in 2015. Oklahoma motorists may be surprised to learn that this figure represents a 7.2 increase over the number of traffic fatalities in 2014.

The substantial increase in deaths within a single year has caused major concern. A representative of the Department of Transportation has issued a call to the public, data scientists, researchers and safety experts to come up with ways to prevent a further increase.

In 2005, 42,708 people died as a result of traffic accidents. Up till last year, the number of deaths had been getting lower due, in part, to improved vehicle safety features such as electronic stability control and air bags.

Distracted driving, which can include driving while on a cellphone, accounted for 10 percent of vehicle-related deaths last year. Nearly 50 percent of the traffic fatalities resulted from not using a seat belt. Speeding and drunk driving caused almost 30 percent of the deaths.

According to some researchers, an aspect that has contributed to the increase is that there are more people driving. When additional factors, such as less expensive fuel and significant job growth, are considered, it's easy to understand why more people are driving more miles.

As the NHTSA report shows, driver negligence leads to many fatal auto accidents. If an individual dies in a car crash, a personal injury attorney may be able to help obtain financial compensation for the victim's family. Compensation could cover damages such as pain and suffering as well as lost family income.

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