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Government proposes long-term plan to end traffic deaths

The Obama administration has announced an ambitious goal of eliminating all injuries and deaths from motor vehicle accidents in 30 years. Statistics show that traffic fatalities are on the rise throughout the country with an increase of 7.2 percent in 2015. For the first six months of 2016, preliminary statistics indicate yet another rise of 9 percent compared to 2015. New York drivers may see more promotion of seat belts and rumble strips as part of an initiative by the U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Oct. 5. The agency also proposes to continue educating the public about the dangers of driving while drunk or distracted.

With human behavior estimated to be involved in around 94 percent of accidents, it is anticipated that advances in technology along with the introduction of fully autonomous vehicles can eliminate car accidents that result in injury or death altogether. The Transportation Secretary said that reaching this standard would require commitment from a number of areas including drivers, safety associations, government and industry.

The first proposal to eliminate all traffic fatalities and injuries was Vision Zero in Sweden in 1997. Since then, the idea has spread to other countries and cities around the world.

Until initiatives like Vision Zero reach fruition, serious accidents and injuries will continue to happen. Drivers who are fatigued, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding or distracted may cause devastating crashes, and injured people may find the offers of compensation from insurance companies to be inadequate to cover their losses. They may want to speak to an attorney about the possibility of filing a civil suit.

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