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U.S. roads more deadly than those of other wealthy countries

While California and the rest of the U.S. have seen a decrease in motor vehicle fatality rates, a recent report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention underscores that much still needs to be done. The report, which was released on July 6, compared U.S. traffic fatality rates to those of 19 other high-income countries.

The CDC reports that during the 13-year period between 2000 to 2013, the U.S. saw a 31-percent decline in its traffic fatality rates. While this shows significant progress, the average decline by the other countries during the same 13-year period was 56 percent. In Spain, the drop in fatality rates was 75.1 percent.

The report states that more than 32,000 people in the U.S. died in motor vehicle accidents in 2013. The U.S. has the dubious position of ranking first in traffic fatality rates among wealthy nations. It is second behind only Canada in the number of deaths attributable to drinking and driving. In addition to alcohol use, other factors the CDC believes contribute to the high death rate in the U.S. include speeding and the lack of safety belt use.

Negligent driving behaviors, such as driving under the influence, claim many lives each year. When a person is seriously injured or killed in an accident caused by a drunk or drugged driver, the victim or the family may want to talk to a personal injury attorney. Even if criminal charges are pending against the at-fault driver, a victim can still file a civil lawsuit. California allows these types of cases to proceed simultaneously because the state recognizes that some victims and their families deserve to be compensated for their losses.

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