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U.S. traffic deaths once again top 40k mark

Advanced safety systems could help drivers in Louisiana and elsewhere in the country experience fewer accidents. While such technology is promising, it's not yet widely used. This may be one of the reasons why U.S. traffic-related deaths have topped the 40,000 mark for the third year in a row according to the National Safety Council. Traffic fatalities did dip slightly from the previous year although there was a small uptick in serious crash injuries over the same period.

The National Safety Council notes that traffic fatality rates vary from state to state; Hawaii, Minnesota and Nevada, for instance, are some of the states that had significant traffic death increases while Maine, Kansas and New Jersey were among the states with decreases.

As for why there are more car accidents overall this decade than the previous decade, one theory is that there are far more driver distractions today. Such distractions include in-dash features and smartphones. One bright spot is a noticeable growth in the number of automatic emergency braking systems in vehicles.

Advanced active safety systems are becoming increasingly common in newer vehicles, which may help reverse the nationwide traffic death trend. A handful of manufacturers are also offering pedestrian detection and avoidance systems. Still, there aren't yet a significant number of vehicles on the road with automatic detection and avoidance capabilities. Driver behavior remains a major vehicle accident factor.

With car accidents, there's always the potential for some type of negligence to be a contributing factor. However, simply not having accident prevention technology in a vehicle doesn't mean that a driver was negligent. A lawyer may look at phone records, police reports and witness statements to get an idea of what specific driver behaviors may have contributed to an accident.

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