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Report finds more than 40,000 died on U.S roads in 2016

Kentucky readers may be interested to learn that more than 40,000 people died on U.S. roads last year, according to an estimate released by the National Safety Council. It is the first time that the 40,000 threshold has been crossed since 2007. The increase is linked in part to cheaper gas prices and a rebounding economy.

The number represents a 6 percent jump from 2015 and a 14 percent spike from 2014. The estimate backs up a January report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which found that traffic deaths increased 8 percent over the first nine months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.

In a survey that it also conducted, the National Safety Council found that 47 percent of drivers believe it's okay to text and drive, 25 percent are comfortable speeding on residential streets and 16 percent say they don't always wear a seat belt. Meanwhile, 10 percent of motorists admitted to driving while drunk. Of those, 43 percent said they had been involved in traffic accident while impaired. The council estimated that auto accidents cost more than $430 billion in deaths, injuries and property loss last year.

As this report demonstrates, car accidents are often caused by negligent behavior. Individuals injured in a car crash caused by a negligent driver may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against that driver and their insurance company. Typical damages awarded in such a suit may include medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Injured victims could learn more about their legal rights by speaking with an attorney.

Source: Bloomberg, "Deaths on U.S. Roads Reach Highest Since 2007 Amid More Driving," Ryan Beene, Feb. 15, 2017

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