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A look at state highway safety performance

Texas residents may have heard about a report released by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. According to the report, traffic fatalities increased by 7.2 percent in 2015 over the prior year. This was the largest percentage increase in 50 years, and data for the first nine months of 2016 shows an 8 percent increase compared to the same time period in 2015.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than 35,000 deaths and 2.4 million injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2015. To reduce these numbers, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety say that there are 376 different laws that states can adopt. These laws range from regulating seat belt use to graduated drivers licenses for teen drivers. Laws related to motorcycle helmet use were also suggested by the group.

The report found that 16 states don't mandate seat belt use for passengers sitting in front seats while 32 don't have laws requiring passengers in back seats to wear safety belts. Overall, Rhode Island was found to be the best when it came to highway safety laws while South Dakota was the worst in the country. Delaware, Washington and Oregon were near the top of the list while Wyoming, Arizona and Montana were among the worst.

A car accident victim may be entitled to compensation if the crash was caused by a negligent driver. A driver may be negligent if he or she was distracted or impaired at the time of a wreck. Legal counsel may point to cellphone records, toxicology reports or physical evidence at the crash scene in an effort to show that negligence played a role in a crash. This may entitle an injured victim to a financial award for lost wages, lost earnings and out-of-pocket medical costs.

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