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Traffic fatalities increase in 2016

Georgia drivers may want to exercise a little more caution since a new study showed fatalities from car accidents in 2016 were the highest since 2007. The number of deaths is a 6 percent increase from 2015 and a 14 percent increase over 2014.

The National Safety Council says the number of people who died in car accidents in 2016 hit 40,200. The council indicated that people driving more as a result of cheaper gas and a better economy were a factor in the increase. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also reported an increase of 8 percent in traffic deaths in 2016. The two organizations count traffic deaths differently, which accounts for the discrepancy. The council counts deaths incurred in the year following the traffic accident, while the highway administration only counts deaths occurring at the time of the accident.

The council believes texting while driving played a significant role in the increase in car accident deaths. However, a survey they took found 47 percent of motorists didn't see anything wrong with texting and driving. The council wants to ban all cell phone use, including hands-free phones, for drivers. It also wants a three-tiered licensing system for drivers under 21 years old.

The families of Georgia residents killed in car accidents may be eligible for compensation through a wrongful death claim if the accident was caused by a negligent driver. This compensation can include death benefits and, if the victim was a bread winner, monetary compensation to replace that income. A personal injury attorney may be able to explain factors in a wrongful death claim and the types of compensation available.

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