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Department of Transportation proposes new safety initiatives

Some New York drivers may have heard that in 2015, the number of traffic fatalities went up 7.2 percent compared to the previous year. That trend looks likely to continue in 2016 with estimates from the first six months of the year showing another 9 percent increase in deaths. In response to the 2015 figures, on Oct. 5, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a plan to promote the use of seat belts and rumble strips and raise awareness about the dangers of distracted and drunk driving.

The plan is part of a larger one by the Obama administration to eliminate traffic-related deaths and injuries in the next 30 years. With advances in technology and fully autonomous vehicles, experts predict that this is possible. However, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx also said that it would require commitment from many groups including drivers, safety organizations, industry and the government.

Sweden was the first country to set a goal of zero fatalities from motor vehicle accidents. Other places have adopted similar goals since then.

Motor vehicle accidents can result in devastating injuries. These can be costly along with the expense of repairing or replacing a vehicle and lost income from work while a person recovers. While the injured person may assume that insurance will cover these expenses, this is often not the case even if the other driver is fully insured. The injured person might want to hire an attorney to negotiate with the insurance company. If this is not successful, the next step may be filing a civil suit. This might result in the injured person being offered a settlement, but if the amount is not satisfactory, then the case may go to court. If the injured person can demonstrate with a preponderance of evidence that the another driver was negligent, the lawsuit may be successful.

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