U.S. roads were more dangerous in 2015, according to statistics provided by the National Safety Council. The agency reported that almost 19,000 people were killed in car accidents between January and June last year, which is a 14 percent increase over the first half of 2014. Kentucky road fatalities rose 9 percent during that period.

Injuries were also up in the first half of 2015. Nearly 2.3 million people suffered injuries serious enough to require medical attention over the six-month period, a spike of 30 percent over the comparable 2015 period. The cost of car accidents also jumped 24 percent to approximately $152 billion. The jump in fatalities put 2015 on track to record more than 40,000 traffic-related fatalities for the year, which hasn’t occurred since 44,000 people died in 2007.

Observers say that the improving economy and cheaper gas prices are partly responsible for the increase in traffic deaths and injuries. Other possible causes include speeding, drunk driving and distracted driving. A May 2015 survey by AT&T showed that around 70 percent of drivers admitted using their smartphones while on the road and 61 percent admitted to reading and/or replying to texts while driving. According to the NSC, texting and driving increases the chances of an accident by eight times and cellphone use is responsible for 27 percent of all crashes.

Texting and driving can lead to serious car accidents. Individuals who have been injured by a distracted driver may have cause to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other amounts. An attorney could assess an injured victim’s case and recommend the best course of legal action.

Source: News Week, “U.S. TRAFFIC DEATHS, INJURIES AND RELATED COSTS UP IN 2015,” Stav Ziv, August 17, 2015