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Fatal accidents increase for second year in a row: What are we doing wrong?

New safety features and investments have failed to deter fatal accidents in the United States. Fatal accidents have increased for the second year in a row, according to a new report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The report stated that 37,461 people were killed in auto accidents in 2016, which is a 5.6 percent increase from the previous year.

The increase in fatalities over the last two years is a surprise to some, especially since fatal accidents had declined from 2007 to 2014. Why have fatal accidents increased across the country? A few different factors may be to blame.

What led to the increase in fatal accidents?

Distracted driving was not one of the leading contributing factors for the increase in fatal accidents. In fact, fatal crashes caused by distracted driving decreased in 2016 by just over 2 percent.

If distracted driving wasn't to blame for the increase in deaths, what was? The report cited several issues led to the increase in fatalities, including:

  • Speeding: Fatalities caused by speeding increased by 4 percent.
  • Not wearing seat belts: Fatalities caused by unbelted drivers and passengers increase by 4.6 percent.
  • Motorcycle fatalities: Fatal accidents involving motorcyclists increase by 5.1 percent in 2016.
  • Pedestrian fatalities: Fatal accidents involving pedestrians increase by 9 percent in 2016.

The increase in fatalities due to these factors is a serious threat for everyone on the road, especially for motorcyclists and pedestrians. It is vital for everyone to drive with caution to keep everyone safe.

What you can do to stay safe

Safety advocates hope that automobile improvements will cut back on accidents. Groups have cited safety advancements including rearview backup cameras, automatic braking, lane department warnings and air bag improvements. However, advancements only play part of a role in reducing fatalities on the road.

It is also up to motorists to pay attention, follow traffic rules, including the speed limit and to wear their seat belts. Everyone has a role to play in improving safety on the road so the next time you get behind the wheel, make sure you are modeling good driving behaviors and wearing your seat belt to keep yourself and everyone safe.

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