There were 27,875 traffic fatalities in the first nine months of 2016, an eight percent increase compared to the first nine months of 2015, according to estimates recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
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NHTSA estimates also show there was also an increase in the number of miles driven during this time period due to an improved economy. However, this only partially explains the increase in traffic deaths because fatalities outpaced increased travel by five percent.
Weather could be another factor in the increase in deaths. There are often increases in deaths on the roads during periods of warmer weather because people drive more often during this time, according to NHTSA officials.
They do not know if distracted driving was a factor in the increase in deaths because it is difficult to determine if drivers were using their cellphones or other mobile devices more often in the first three quarters of 2016.
Regulators uncovered significant regional differences in traffic fatalities during this time period. There was a 20 percent increase in the New England area, but only a one percent increase in the region of the country that includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada.
The increase in traffic deaths happened despite the fact that many new cars are equipped with sophisticated safety technology, such as blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. In addition, almost all new vehicles have rear-view cameras and electronic stability control.
If you have lost a loved one in a car crash, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills.