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National car accident deaths top 40,000 in 2017

Indiana residents may be concerned to hear that preliminary estimates from a national safety advocacy group indicate that there were 40,100 deaths from car accidents in this country in 2017. Although this was a 1 percent decline compared to 2016, the 2017 figures are still 6 percent greater than the number of fatal auto accident victims reported in 2015.

This could be the second consecutive year that traffic deaths exceed 40,000 if these estimates remain intact. The data can change as it matures.

The National Safety Council (NSC), which reported these estimates, is a nonprofit organization with the purpose of eliminating preventable fatalities at work, home and throughout the community. The NSC has followed fatality data and issued estimates on traffic fatalities for almost 100 years and collects monthly data on traffic accidents from all the states and the District of Columbia.

The NSC also found that approximately 4.57 million people suffered injuries in car accident last year. This was a 1 percent drop from 2016. These accidents cost $413.8 billion, which include losses to wages and productivity, medical expenses, administrative costs, property damage and costs to employers.

There were 910 fatalities reported for Indiana in 2017. This was a 11 percent increase from the 820 deaths for 2016 and 817 fatalities for 2015.

The NSC blamed complacency and an improved economy which caused a 1 percent increase in the miles driven in 2017. It also made several recommendations for motorists. These include defensive driving such as designating a sober driver or arranging alternative transportation when the motorist is impaired and getting sufficient sleep to avoid fatigued driving.

Additionally, motorists should recognize the dangers of drugged driving which includes impairment caused by prescription opioids. Other recommendations include learning how to use the vehicle's safety systems and complying with recalls immediately.

An attorney can help victims of accidents caused by a negligent or reckless driver seek compensation for wrongful death and personal injuries. Legal representation may ensure that their rights are protected and pursued in settlement negotiations and legal proceedings.

Source: National Safety Council, "Preliminary estimates: Motor vehicle deaths plateaued in 2017, but still up 6% from 2015" Accessed Feb. 19, 2018

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