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Lax state laws could be to blame for rise in traffic fatalities

Between 2001 and 2011, highways deaths dropped steadily in the United States, which appeared to be great news for the country's motorists. However, that trend may be changing.

According to recently-released data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatalities in motor vehicle accidents rose by 7.1 percent between the first six months of 2011 and the same period in 2012. That's the largest one-year jump since 1975 and it has some safety experts taking notice.

The non-profit group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety grades states every year on how well their laws address 15 traffic safety concerns, including distracted driving, impaired driving, seat belt use and teen driving safety..

In light of this recent jump in traffic fatalities, Advocates say that state lawmakers have become complacent over the past ten years, when road deaths were generally declining. In addition, state governments have been less friendly to regulation over the past decade, making it harder to pass important traffic laws.

These lax laws may have contributed to the recent jump. The organization gave 14 states their highest ranking, saying they are "significantly advanced" towards adopting important laws. Six received the lowest rating of "significantly behind." It should be noted that these ratings reflect law and police decisions, not crash data.

If you or someone you love have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by someone else's negligence it may be wise to consult a personal injury attorney. He or she can help you review your case, protect your rights and pursue any appropriate claims for damages.

Source: USA Today, "Group: Strong road-safety laws are lagging in states," Larry Copeland, Jan. 15, 2013

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