Experience Brings Results

40,200 people were killed in 2016 and the economy played a role

Per the National Safety Council, about 40,200 people passed away after car accidents in 2016. That's notable for a few reasons, one of which is that it broke the 40,000 mark, something that hasn't happened since 2007, about a decade ago. On top of that, it was an increase from just 2015 of about 6 percent.

The rate of increase is important because it's holding steady. Between 2014 and 2015, there was an increase of 7 percent. In two consecutive years, that total increase is the highest the United States has seen in more than 50 years.

Some experts have warned that people are complacent. They just accept the stats, assume it won't happen to them and do nothing to change it. That's killing people every year.

The reasons are many, as is usually the case. They did specifically point out that distracted driving was causing accidents. Technology is helpful in many ways, but it also keeps people from looking at the road.

This is an overall increase, though, which means it just trends up as people drive more. Vehicle miles driven are also increasing. And for that, experts blame the economy.

The reason is that the economy has been improving, especially since 2008 and 2009. People drive more in good economic times because they have more money to spend on leisure activities and because more people tend to be employed. Anything that puts more cars on the road is then going to increase the odds of deadly accidents. That's especially true if those drivers are distracted.

After a crash in which a loved one is killed, make sure you know your rights to compensation for medical bills, funeral costs and more.

Source: NY Times, "U.S. Traffic Deaths Rise for a Second Straight Year," Neal E. Boudette, accessed Nov. 24, 2017

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