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Recent road safety boons have gone bust

Have you ever looked over the fatal motor vehicle accident data for the United States over the last nearly 120 years? As unfortunate as the statistic inherently is, the numbers are quite fascinating. For the first three decades after motor vehicles entered the world, the fatality numbers were incredibly low compared to modern figures, which is an expected outcome given their scarcity in the early days.

But starting in the 1950s and 1960s, a disturbing trend began to build. Fatalities in motor vehicle accidents were skyrocketing. In 1963, the annual number of fatalities in car accidents jumped over 40,000 for the first time. It remained above that mark until 1992, and was routinely in the 50,000s in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It wasn't until 2008 that the number of motor accident fatalities in a year in the U.S. dropped below 40,000 (excluding the blip in 1992).

This was the beginning of an amazing safety age that saw the fatality rate drop into the low 30,000s. From the late aughts to just as recently as a few years ago, it appeared the fatality rate would continue to drop. But the 2015 numbers showed a sharp spike in fatalities (up 10.5 percent from 2014), and 2016 only made it worse (up 5.6 percent from 2015).

This rise could be attributed to a number of different factors, but the one overarching point is that the victims of car accidents should consider their legal standing in the wake of the wreck.

Source: Wikipedia, "Motor vehicle fatality rate in U.S. by year," Accessed March 21, 2018

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