Drivers in Louisiana have access to more automotive safety technology than ever before, but fatal traffic accidents have risen for the past two years. Human errors like speeding and failing to wear seat belts appear to be undermining the advantages of automatic emergency brakes, air bags and lane departure warning systems. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded that human choices contributed to the higher death toll in 2015 and 2016. When examining fatal accidents, researchers found that 94 percent of them result from human decisions.
Although safety researchers have credited modern automotive technology with the decrease in deaths between 2007 and 2014, touchscreen systems in new cars now distract drivers. The NHTSA reported that 37,461 people died in 2016, an increase of 5.6 percent from the previous year. Traffic fatalities had already started to rise in 2015 after deaths in 2014 dropped to a historic low. In 2016, the NHTSA identified a 4 percent jump in deadly wrecks caused by speeding drivers. Deaths resulting from people forgetting to use seat belts went up by 4.6 percent.
Other factors contributing to the higher death toll included a 5.1 percent rise in motorcycle crash fatalities and a 9 percent jump in the category of pedestrian deaths. People killed in accidents caused by drunk drivers increased by 1.7 percent.
When a careless driver makes a mistake that hurts another person, the victim could pursue a personal injury claim. An attorney may be able to assist with the process by organizing evidence about the inattentive driver and meeting with an insurance adjuster. If an adequate settlement does not emerge from initial communications with the responsible, then the attorney might prepare the case for a trial. In court, an attorney may be able to explain to a jury the financial damage inflicted by the driver's mistakes.