NHTSA finds traffic deaths are on the rise nationally and in New York

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Early NHTSA data shows that traffic fatalities in New York rose from 2014 to 2015 and that this change may have had the largest impact on non-motorists.

During the recent economic downtown, many people in New York City tried to reduce their expenses by driving less often and using alternative means of transportation instead. However, the ongoing improvement of the economy, along with a fall in gas prices, has resulted in higher levels of driving than ever before, according to The San Jose Mercury News. Unfortunately, with this increase in driving has come a rise in traffic fatalities, both in New York and across the country.

High fatality figures

Based on an analysis of preliminary national data from 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projects that fatal car crashes jumped over 7 percent from 2014 to 2015. In New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, deadly accidents increased 4 percent overall. Nationally, over 35,000 lives were lost.

According to The San Jose Mercury News, this change had the most severe impact on the most vulnerable road users. The NHTSA reported the following alarming facts about fatalities among people who shared the road with drivers:

  • Fatalities among motorcyclists rose 9 percent.
  • Pedestrian deaths increased 10 percent.
  • Fatal bicycle accidents climbed 13 percent.

The overall traffic fatality rate is the highest seen in the United States since 2008, according to the same source. Furthermore, this change doesn't just reflect an increase in driving, since the number of fatalities per mile driven also experienced an uptick from 2014 to 2015.

Accident risk in New York

These findings are worrisome for road users in New York, since the state already sees a high rate of motor vehicle accidents, injuries and deaths. In 2013, the last year for which New York State Department of Motor Vehicles data is available, severe car accidents injured over 6,000 bicyclists, 16,000 pedestrians and 146,000 motorists or passengers. Furthermore, these accidents claimed the lives of 40 bicyclists, 344 pedestrians and 803 drivers or passengers.

Legal remedies for victims

Given these high accident rates, it's important for state residents and visitors to understand their legal rights in the event of an accident. Victims or their surviving family members may be able to pursue compensation for wrongful injuries or death even if they are deemed partially at fault in a crash. The recompense awarded is reduced based on the amount of fault attributed to the victim, however. This makes accurately portraying the nature of the accident and each party's role in it essential.

For advice and assistance during this process, victims may benefit from consulting with an attorney with experience in the relevant area of personal injury law. An attorney might be able to help a person investigate and document the accident, build a compelling case and seek reasonable recourse.