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Complacency among drivers may contribute to rising crash rate

The chief executive of the National Safety Council discussed the rising roadway fatality rates at a press conference on Feb. 15. According to an estimate from the advocacy group, the number of traffic deaths in Illinois and across the U.S. surged to 40,200 in 2016. This was the first time the rate has gone above 40,000 since 2007.

The stronger economy and affordable gasoline prices are believed to have contributed to the trend of rising fatality rates, according to NSC. However, the chief executive says that last year's 6 percent rise in deaths cannot be fully rationalized by only a 3 percent rise in miles traveled by U.S. drivers. NSC survey findings suggest that complacency on the part of motorists could be an additional factor in the upward trend.

The results of the survey are telling. According to NSC, 16 percent of the respondents reported that they do not always use seat belts, 25 percent said that they feel comfortable speeding on residential roads and 47 percent indicated that they are comfortable with texting while driving. In response, NSC officials are calling for a number of steps to reduce serious crashes, including a total ban on driver cell phone use and a three-tiered licensing system for new drivers who are under the age of 21.

Illinois motorists might conclude from the group's findings that an increasing amount of traffic coupled with a greater feeling of complacency among drivers could lead to an increased risk of being injured or killed in a car accident. In the event that a motorist suffers an injury as the result of a crash, an attorney may be able to litigate the matter in court on the injured party's behalf. Depending upon the particulars of the case, the client could achieve full financial compensation for the loss.

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