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Traffic fatalities increase in 2015

A report on traffic fatalities from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration contains good and bad news for Pennsylvania motorists. The bad news is that traffic fatalities are up; the good news is that Pennsylvania has one of the lowest rates of increase in the nation.

The federal agency has estimated that over 26,000 people died in car accidents around the country in the first nine months of 2015. Less than 24,000 people died as a result of car crashes in the same time period in 2014. NHTSA says this is the first time in years that traffic fatalities have increased. Between 2000 and 2014, traffic fatalities decreased by more than 22 percent. Since the 2015 figures are only preliminary, the NHTSA says it is too soon to speculate on reasons for the increase, although it indicated that an increased focus should be made on drunk driving.

The increase amounts to 9.3 percent nationwide. NHTSA's Region 2, which takes in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, showed only a 3 percent increase in deaths from traffic accidents. Only Region 6, which includes states from New Mexico to Mississippi, had a lower rate of increase, 2 percent. The northwest region had the highest rate of increase at 20 percent.

Car accidents can result in catastrophic injuries and a lengthy period of expensive medical rehabilitation for those who are involved. Research by the NHTSA has shown that more that 90 percent of crashes are caused by human factors. A person who has been injured in an accident caused by a motorist who was distracted by texting while driving may want to have the assistance of an attorney in seeking appropriate compensation.

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