Through the first part of 2015, traffic deaths are 14 percent higher than they were in 2014. Serious injuries from automobile crashes are up a staggering 30 percent. Between January and June of this year, approximately 19,000 people died in automobile collisions in the U.S. Over 2.2 million were seriously injured and required medical attention. This large number of collisions puts the country on track to have its deadliest driving year since 2007.

Costs from automobile collisions are also much higher this year. It is estimated that the six-month bill from January to June of this year is $152 billion in damages, which is up 24 percent from the same time period last year.

It’s unclear why 2015 has been such a dangerous year on the roads. Some experts believe that lower gas prices, an improvement in unemployment rates, and an overall improving economy lead more drivers on the roads, which naturally leads to more accidents. Experts say that there’s a clear correlation between a strong economy and increased traffic deaths and injuries. In 2007, right before the recession, there were 44,000 traffic-related deaths. Between 2008 and 2014, the deaths declined, and were under 40,000 each year. Experts believe that the number will probably surpass 40,000 this year, particularly since the peak travel months were not included.. Gas prices are roughly 30 percent lower than last year, and they are expected to remain relatively stable over the coming months. This leads to more people driving longer distances, such as for vacations.

Many experts also blame the increase in deaths on distracted driving, speeding, and impairment by drugs or alcohol. A survey released in May by AT&T shows that about 70 percent of drivers admit to using their smart phones while they are driving. Texting is the most common, with 61 percent of people surveyed admitting that they have texted while behind the wheel. Others have admitted to using email, Facebook, and Twitter, and shooting videos or snapping “selfies” while driving. Studies have shown that texting while driving increases the odds of an accident by eight times. About 27 percent of accidents are caused by texting or talking on a cell phone while driving.

Auto insurers, including GEICO, Allstate, and Progressive, back up those statistics, claiming that they have seen a big rise in claims. Only 14 states and the District of Columbia report a decrease in traffic collisions and deaths in the first half of this year, when compared with last year.

Individuals who are injured in automobile collisions need to act quickly to protect their legal rights. They are entitled to compensation from the negligent driver who harmed them. They may be able to receive compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages. Although many people believe they will receive more money if they pursue their own case rather than hiring a personal injury attorney, studies have shown that accident victims who hire a personal injury attorney receive on average larger settlements than those who represent themselves, even after the attorneys’ fees are deducted.

At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that anyone involved in an accident caused by another party’s negligence should vigorously protect their legal rights. Call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco personal injury attorney, at Liberty Law at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000 if you have been involved in an automobile collision in the San Francisco- Oakland area. She works with clients throughout northern California, including Hayward, Fairfield, Tracy, San Jose, Sacramento, Berkeley, and the surrounding areas. She will provide you with a free consultation on your case. Call today to learn more.

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