Whether you are commuting to San Diego on I-5 or taking a family vacation that takes you along I-10, it is imperative to be aware of potential car accident risks. A new report from KQED News and the California Report indicate that traffic fatalities are increasing across California despite a steady number of deaths on the rest of America’s roadways. Federal highway safety data shows that the traffic death toll in California will continue to tick upward even as the number of individuals dying on roads nationwide stays steady or slightly decline.

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were nearly 33,000 auto accident deaths and more that more than 2 million accident-related deaths that led to injuries. Although this death toll might seem surprisingly high, it actually is a decline in the number of auto accident fatalities from the previous year.

Between 2013 and 2014, auto accident collisions accounted for 44 fewer fatalities. California is, unfortunately, a leader in the nation in terms of highway fatalities related to the general population. In 2014, more than 3,000 individuals in California died as a result of a car accident. This is a 2.5% increase from the year before. Some researchers believe that the increase in fatalities has to do with reliance on smartphones. Smartphones can easily distract a driver from his or her focus on the road and lead to devastating accidents and injuries. It can be very frustrating to learn that the car accident in which you sustained critical injuries was caused by someone who was not paying attention or who was on their smartphone at the time of the accident. Sadly, highway deaths have been and will likely continue to be a serious issue in California.