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Data reveals 2015 was a bad year for road safety

Every time you get behind the wheel of your car, you likely run a few mental checks to ensure you are being safe. You put your seat belt on, obey the speed limit and put your phone away; you might also decide to refrain from driving if you are very tired or have been drinking.

However, these safety checks aren't always as thorough as we'd like them to be, especially when we drive more frequently. Unfortunately, according to recently released data, this is one major problem facing drivers in the U.S. Last year, Americans drove more miles than ever before, and the rate of fatal accidents was the highest it has been in years.

Numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that 35,200 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2015. This is a 7.7 percent increase and reflects not just increases in driver and passenger fatalities, but also bicyclist, pedestrian and motorcyclists fatalities, all of which increased by at least 9 percent.

There have been many possible explanations for why last year was so deadly, chief among them being an improved economy. Sources believe that this has led to more people on the roads for longer periods of time, which increases the risk of accident.

Hopefully, this year will prove to be safer than last year, but that remains to be seen. Until then, we urge North Carolina drivers to use caution behind the wheel, no matter how frequently or infrequently they drive. While every driver can and does make mistakes, we each have an obligation to ourselves and other drivers to take reasonable precautions in order to minimize mistakes when driving.

If you or a loved one is involved in a serious or fatal car accident, seeking medical and legal help as soon as possible can be critical for your physical, mental and financial well-being.

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