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How is 2015 shaping up with regard to fatal accidents?

A new year is here, and for many people in the Charleston area, this time of the year is a chance to take a breather from busy everyday life and maybe even take a look back at what happened during the prior year. Like most other years, much happened in 2015, some of it good, and some of it bad. With regard to fatal auto accidents, 2015 will likely not go down as a good year.

According to data from the National Safety Council, in just the first half of 2015, nearly 19,000 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents throughout the U.S. That represents a 14 percent increase from the same period in 2014, and it puts 2015 on track to be the worst year for fatal accidents since 2007.

In addition to the rise in traffic fatalities, the number of injuries from auto accidents also increased during the first half of 2015, relative to the first six months of 2014. Between January and June of 2015, traffic accidents led to a whopping 2.3 million injuries that required some form of medical attention. That number is a huge 30 percent jump from the number of injuries during the same period in 2014.

The head of the National Safety Council, Deborah Hersman, said that the final data for 2015 could show that the nation's death toll from motor vehicle accidents was 40,000 or more. She explained that a decrease in gas prices has meant that people have driven more miles during 2015. However, the added mileage does not account for all of the increases in accident numbers. Hersman also opined that other factors were at play, like people driving while impaired by alcohol, and people who were texting and driving.

Distracted drivers are a danger to themselves and to everyone else with whom they share the roadways. Safely driving an automobile requires a person to be fully engaged on driving, and not diverting their attention to other things. Regardless of how the final accident numbers turn out for 2015, all drivers should do their best to make 2016 a safer year on the roads.

Source: Newsweek, "U.S. Traffic Deaths, Injuries and Related Costs Up in 2015," Accessed on Dec. 21, 2015

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