With high-tech safety features and rigorous crash testing, today's motor vehicles are safer than ever. While, theoretically, safer motor vehicles should equate to lesstraffic accidents and fatalities, a recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates otherwise.

According to the NHTSA, during 2015, a total of 35,092 people died in traffic accidents throughout the U.S., a number that represents a nine percent increase over the number of traffic deaths reported in 2014. This figure is causing both alarm and confusion among officials from the Department of Transportation who recently issued an urgent call to identify and study possible contributing factors.

As highway safety officials continue to try to identify why the number of traffic fatalities spiked last year, the following dangerous driving behaviors are likely contributing factors:

Three major causes of traffic accidents

  1. Distracted driving - The U.S. government estimates that during 2014 alone, some 431,000 people suffered injuries and more than 3,100 died in traffic accidents caused by distracted drivers. In reality, these numbers are likely much higher as drivers of all ages continue to take their attention and focus off the road. The proliferation of cellphones and other mobile devices has only added to the problem. From texting while driving to checking email, many of today's drivers are distracted drivers.
  2. Speeding - While many Lexington area drivers would likely admit to occasionally driving over the speed limit, doing so can be dangerous. In factnational statistics indicate that, during 2014 alone, speed was a factor in 28 percent of fatal traffic accidents. Speeding is especially dangerous in heavy traffic conditions, construction zones and inclement weather.
  3. Drunk driving - National statistics show that roughly one-third of traffic fatalities from 2014 involved alcohol-impaired drivers. Alcohol impedes a driver's ability to think, reason, concentrate and make decisions. Additionally, drivers who are under the influence of alcohol have a slowed reaction time and may experience vision problems.
For drivers in and around the Lexington area, it's important to understand and avoid engaging in dangerous behaviors that are known to cause and contribute to many serious and fatal traffic accidents. In cases where an individual is involved and injured in an accident caused by a driver who is distracted, speeding or drunk; it's wise to consult with an attorney about taking legal action to recover compensation.