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A car is much more than a possession. For many Americans, it represents a way to earn a living – building them, repairing them and selling them. For drivers, a car is a symbol of freedom whether heading out into the wild blue yonder or just the local mall. To accommodate drivers, laws were passed to build more and better highways and to increase speed limits. Safety measures that were enacted resulted in a decrease in deaths for many years, until now.
Road deaths increased more than 10 percent last year compared with 2020, reaching 42,915, according to estimates released by federal transportation officials, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It was the highest number of road-death fatalities nationwide in 16 years.
Significant Changes Needed
In recognition of the problem, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Monday announced that the Biden administration is making $1 billion in federal grants in the fiscal year 2022 to local communities. The application process is now open, he said. An infusion of federal cash will be given to communities that pledge to promote safety for the multiple users of the roadway, particularly pedestrians and bicyclists.
“Our highway system has been built for efficiency and convenience, not to be safe,” said Jeffrey Michael, NHSTA associate administrator, said in a Washington Post interview, adding that “lowering speed limits and investing in infrastructure to protect vulnerable road users like pedestrians and bicyclists …are the types of concessions we’re going to need to reduce the scale of this problem, and to potentially eliminate the problem.”
Fatal crashes that involved speeding, alcohol, lack of seat belt use and distracted driving were cited as the primary causes. Deaths in rollover crashes, which safety experts say are particularly violent and often involve a single vehicle, went up sharply in 2020 compared to a year earlier. Deaths of bicyclists were up 5 percent. Pedestrians were among those dying in higher numbers.
Filing a Lawsuit
If you are in a car accident and suffer serious injuries that may require surgery, an extended hospital stay and/or lifelong treatment, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury claim.
In the event of death, the family of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. Your personal injury lawyer will help you understand which damages apply to your case and the best strategy to use to recover compensation for your loss.
The lawyers at Smith LaCien LLP have the extensive experience needed to effectively represent plaintiffs in all types of accident and wrongful death cases. For more information, visit www.smithlacien.com or call (312) 509-8900.
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