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Traffic fatalities in U.S. top 40,000 for third year in a row

Driving in the United States is quite dangerous – likely the most dangerous thing the average person will do on a daily basis. And recent trends indicate that the United States is going in the wrong direction when it comes to driving safety.

According to the National Safety Council, traffic fatalities topped 40,000 in 2018, 2017, and 2016. For comparison, the population of Wheeling is 27,758, while Huntington is 46,811, and the population of Morgantown is 31,950.

Additionally, 4.5 million people were seriously injured in car accidents in 2018.

Why have traffic fatalities risen?

Experts believe the rise in traffic fatalities is due to driver error. Drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs, and drowsy driving remain a problem. And distracted driving is reaching epidemic levels across the country due to cell phones and texting.

What can drivers do to stay safe?

The rise in nationwide traffic fatalities is a startling reminder of the importance of safe driving. Here are some simple things drivers can do to help stay safe behind the wheel:

  • Wear a seatbelt: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 48 percent of those killed in car accidents in 2016 were not wearing a seat belt.
  • Practice defensive driving: Defensive driving is the practice of preparing for the unexpected while driving. Learning to identify potential hazards and anticipate unsafe driving practices by other drivers can help defensive drivers avoid collisions. Keep safe distances from other vehicles especially those that appear to be driving aggressively.
  • Stop driving distracted: There truly is no safe way to engage in distracted driving. Besides stopping smartphone use while driving, drivers should stop engaging in other forms of distracted driving like eating while driving, applying makeup while driving or attending to a child in the back seat while driving.

When an accident does happen, it is important for victims to understand their legal rights. Talking to a personal injury attorney can help ensure that victims are aware of their options.