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New England traffic fatalities increase the fastest in the nation

Traffic fatalities soared higher in New England last year than anywhere else in the country.

Traffic fatalities are up nationwide and recently released figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests that the problem is especially bad in New England. According to the Portland Press Herald, while traffic fatalities rose eight percent across the United States during the first nine months of last year, they rose by 20 percent across New England, far more than in any other region in the country. The increase in fatal traffic accidents continues a worrisome upward spiral that began in 2014. While the increase is alarming, safety experts are still struggling to figure out what is behind it.

Traffic fatalities up in New England

During the first nine months of 2016 there were 27,875 traffic deaths across the nation, which was an increase of eight percent from the 25,808 traffic deaths recorded during the same period in 2015. Furthermore, as Forbes reports, 2015 traffic deaths themselves had already represented a 7.2 percent increase over 2014 deaths.

Certain regions have been more affected than others. In Region 1, for example, which consists of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, traffic fatalities rose the most in the country, by 20 percent. Region 4, which consists of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, saw the second highest increase at 15 percent. In Region 8, however, which is Colorado, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, traffic fatalities only increased by one percent.

Unclear what the reasons are

Many theories have been put forward for why traffic fatalities are rising so quickly. The improving economy and lower gas prices have likely fueled some of the upswing since those factors allow for people to drive more frequently and for longer distances. However, while miles travelled have increased, it does not fully account for the dramatic increase in fatalities.

Another culprit that is harder to measure is distracted driving. Distracted driving is widely considered to now be one of the leading causes of serious traffic accidents. However, because it can be difficult to establish whether or not a person was actually distracted when he or she was involved in an accident, the extent of the problem is still likely to be underrepresented in official statistics.

Personal injury law

A traffic accident is a painful and traumatic experience that thousands of people both in Massachusetts and throughout the country go through every year. An accident is often only the beginning of a long and difficult process that can include hospital stays, therapy, and medication, not to mention the difficulties associated with repairing or replacing one's vehicle. These issues are costly, but for those who have been hurt in an accident help is at hand. A personal injury attorney can assist accident victims in a number of ways, including by advising them about what claims they may be able to pursue to help mitigate the financial toll caused by a wreck.