Traffic deaths up 5 percent nationally, 7 percent in California
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Traffic deaths up 5 percent nationally, 7 percent in California

According to a report by the National Safety Council, crash-related deaths went up 5 percent between 2011 and 2012, the first time the number of traffic fatalities has increased since 2005. In California, the numbers are even drear: traffic deaths increased by 7 percent.

The Council attributes the increase in car accident fatalities to the increase in number of miles driven, in part because of 2012's mild winter season. Yet, with better car technology and a focus on safer roads, many safety experts believe that traffic deaths should not have risen at all. We saw many safety features hit the roads in 2012, from better-built cars to the increased use of stability/traction control and divided highways.

What, then, has caused the increase in deaths? Technology may have made some things safer in 2012, but it also had the opposite effect: more people are using cellphones while driving, including texting while driving, than ever before. Furthermore, states aren't doing enough to prevent speeding-related fatalities.

Losing a loved one is devastating enough; but there are no words to describe the feelings a family must go through after losing a loved one because someone was sending a text while driving, speeding or otherwise driving negligently. Had the driver made a better choice, their loved one would still be alive.

That is why it is up to all of us to make sure we, our friends, and our family are keeping our eyes and our mind on the road at all times while driving.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Crash-related deaths up for first time since 2005, report says," David Undercoffler, Feb. 20, 2013

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