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Deadly accidents are up; speeding and not buckling up to blame

Mississippi drivers might want to be more cautious than usual on the roads these days, because deadly crashes are on the rise. This information comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Speeding, not using seat belts and a rise in motorcycle fatalities are the primary reasons for the increase.

The NHTSA data on deadly vehicle accidents was released on Oct. 6. In 2016, accidents took the lives of 37, 416 people. That is an increase of 5.6 percent from the previous year. This is a reversal of a downward trend that had been taking place since 2007. Annual traffic fatalities fell six times between 2007 and 2014, and hit a low of 32, 744 that last year.

Although newer cars may be safer because of technology like rearview cameras and auto braking, some types of technology could be encouraging unsafe driver behavior. Infotainment systems that allow drivers to interact with touch screens while driving increase the risk of distracted driving. But distracted driving deaths actually fell in 2016.

Other driver and passenger behaviors are attributed to the increase in 2016 deaths, such as speeding and not wearing seat belts. Motorcycle deaths also increased by 5.1 percent. The NHTSA says that human choices are to blame for most serious vehicle accidents.

When someone is hurt in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another motorist, that driver's insurance company might offer a settlement, but this might be less than the injured person is entitled to. In such an event, the next step might be to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver with the help of an experienced attorney.

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