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Marked increase in California traffic deaths over past two years

Recently released statistics should give pause to anyone who travels on the roads of California; the year 2016 saw a 14 percent increase in traffic deaths. And this represents a continuing trend as traffic fatality numbers have shot up 19 percent in the last two years.

In terms of numbers, in 2015, 3,249 people lost their lives on our state's roadways, and in 2016 that figure rose to 3,680. And California is hardly alone in experiencing such a jump; traffic-related fatalities are up nationwide as well.

But what could account for this pronounced increase? While any number of factors could be in play, a recent survey of drivers produced some rather disheartening results.

Perhaps most disturbingly, 47 percent of those surveyed claimed they could text while behind the wheel, either using voice controls or manually. This is amazing when you stop and consider how much effort has been spent trying to inform motorists of the grave dangers inherent to texting while driving.

Moreover, 13 percent of the drivers claimed they could safely operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana and ten percent said they were capable of driving after consuming an excessive amount of alcohol.

It is shocking to know that so many motorists believe that they can engage in such dangerous behavior while behind the wheel and think that there will never be any serious consequences. But that is the world we are living and driving in at present.

Driving while impaired or while texting is negligence, pure and simple. And when a negligent driver causes an accident that takes the life of another, the victim's family has the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

If you have lost a loved one due to the reckless acts of someone else, you may be able to file a civil suit to collect damages. You will never be able to replace the one you have lost, but a successful wrongful death suit could provide compensation to help cover the expenses and damages caused by the accident.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "?Complacency? sends traffic deaths soaring in California and US," Michael Cabanatuan," Feb. 15, 2017

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