In 2016, a total of 37,461 people in America died in car crashes, according to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This marks a 9-year high in the number of car crash deaths, outnumbered only by 2007 when 41,259 people were killed.
The increase comes as a shock to some, especially those who recall that the Obama administration made it a goal to eliminate roadway deaths as much as possible over the next 30 years. The plan is expected to take off with the development of self-driving cars; the House of Representatives has even approved a proposal to this end, which could garner exemptions for automakers that deploy self-driving vehicles.
Multiple factors led to the increase in car accidents. Speeding deaths increased by 4 percent over last year. Deaths due to the failure to wear a seatbelt rose by 4.6 percent while DUI was the cause of 1.7 percent more fatalities. There was a 5.1 percent jump in the number of motorcyclist deaths and a 9 percent surge in pedestrian fatalities. Despite new advances in safety technology, including automatic emergency braking, rearview cameras and lane departure warning systems, some gadgets can distract drivers. However, there were 2.2 percent fewer deaths in 2016 due to distracted driving.
When someone dies in a car accident, the surviving family members may wish to retain a lawyer to see if they can file a wrongful death suit. If the other party was driving under the influence or committed a hit and run, then the claim of criminal negligence will be separate from wrongful death claim although the latter may result in punitive damages. The lawyer might hire photographers and other experts to handle the investigation before proceeding to negotiations.