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Are drivers getting worse in the US?

If you asked the question we posed in this headline to investor and businessman Warren Buffet, you would get a resounding "yes," according to a recent news story. He recently stated that drivers in the U.S. must be getting worse because despite impressive advancements in vehicle safety over the years, there has been a 14 percent increase in fatal car accidents this year.

This number is troubling for many reasons, a primary one being that fatal accident rates had actually been declining for the past 10 years. During that same time period considerable developments in automotive safety technology have been made and implemented. So if our vehicles are supposed to be better and safer, why are fatal accident rates increasing?

One major contributor could be distracted driving, according to Buffett. He concluded that because our vehicles are safer than they've ever been and utilize technology like crash-avoidance systems, it is the driver that must be doing something -- or not doing something -- to cause the recent increase in accidents. Texting and cellphone usage are fairly recent and could certainly be contributing to the rise in accidents.

There have been other suggestions for what may have led to the troubling increase in crashes. For example, statistics show that in the last year, 

  • Gas prices fell to the lowest they've been in several years
  • Unemployment rates have fallen
  • People are starting to buy new cars again

Each of these factors, according to reports, has contributed to a significant surge in the number of people on the roads. More drivers on the road could mean more opportunities for an accident to occur.

Whether you agree with Buffett, statistics, neither or both, the fact is that fatal accidents have increased in the last year. This means that even though you may be driving safely in a vehicle equipped with all the latest safety features, you could still be at risk of getting into a crash with another driver who is not as cautious.

If you or a loved one is hurt or killed in a crash, you have the right to speak with an attorney to explore your options for taking legal action. A lawsuit cannot undo a devastating crash, but it can hold the appropriate parties accountable and ensure reckless, negligent behaviors are put on the record.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Car Crashes Are on the Rise, and Warren Buffett Blames Texting," Anupreeta Das and Leslie Scism, Sept. 9, 2015

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