Traffic fatalities increase in 2015

Drivers on Illinois roads may be more unsafe than in recent years based on a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The report found that in 2015, for the first time in years, motor vehicle accident deaths were up.

There was a steady decline in fatalities of over 22 percent in total from 2000 to 2014. In the first three quarters of 2015, there were over 26,000 fatalities while in the first three quarters of 2014, there were 23,796. The overall increase varied regionally. The Southeast was up 16 percent, and the Northwest had a 20 percent increase. However, in the South Central and mid-Atlantic regions, the increase was just 2 percent.

All the same, the NHTSA says there is an urgency to act on a nationwide basis. The agency plans regional summits to determine the cause of the accidents. According to the agency, 94 percent of accidents happen due to human factors.

Some actions that may lead to serious or fatal actions include texting and driving, driving while drowsy and speeding. In some cases, a person may cause an accident by doing something that is not necessarily illegal but may be considered negligent in a civil court. The burden of proof for a plaintiff in a personal injury trial is less onerous than that borne by the prosecution in criminal proceedings. Accordingly, a person who is seriously injured in an accident and has been offered inadequate insurance compensation may be able to prevail in a lawsuit filed against the at-fault motorist.