Vehicle deaths decreased slightly in 2017 but were still much higher than in 2015, according to research from the National Safety Council. They estimated that fatalities associated with vehicle accidents topped 40,000 for the second year in a row.

These estimates are not official federal figures that are collected after an analysis of accidents which will be released later in the year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, however, they allow a preliminary look at how traffic accidents may have led to significant fatalities. The report underscores the consensus among legislators that traffic deaths are a public health crisis that needs further attention.

Although car safety has been dramatically improved in recent decades on the part of automakers, including advancements such as high-tech collision avoidance systems and strategically placed airbags, other factors have meant that the death toll has remained high. Speeding, people who do not use their seatbelts, and distracted driving are some of the leading causes of fatal vehicle accidents. Although it is estimated that 40,100 people died in just 2017 in vehicle accidents, this was a decrease of approximately 1% from the 2016 estimate but is up approximately 6% from 2015.

The loss of a loved one because of a preventable accident is a situation no one should ever have to deal with, and yet it’s a reality for far too many families in San Diego and in California.

If you know someone who died in an accident and you believe you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim, you need to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately.