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DOT promotes goal of zero traffic deaths and injuries

Behavioral changes among drivers in Maryland and advances in autonomous vehicle technology could improve safety on U.S. roads. At least that's what the U.S. Department of Transportation believes. The problem of traffic fatalities and injuries has spiked in recent years. According to the National Safety Council, 2015 saw a 7.2 percent rise deaths, and the first six months of 2016 have already produced a 9 percent increase compared to the same period from the year before.

The DOT has responded to the problem with a plan to eliminate all deaths and injuries within 30 years. The campaign will begin with an emphasis on seat belt use, rumble strips and efforts to reduce drunk or distracted driving.

The department also sees major potential in the emerging technology of self-driving cars. Proponents of these vehicles predict that the technology could remove human error from the driving equation. Currently, the DOT calculates that human mistakes contribute to 94 percent of motor vehicle accidents. The secretary of transportation said that individuals, industry leaders, government officials and safety organizations will need to think differently to achieve better results in the future.

Until then, drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists must contend with current roadway hazards. When a crash injures a person, personal injury law provides an avenue for victims to potentially collect financial damages. Someone who suspects that another person's negligence caused a crash could ask an attorney to review the evidence. An attorney could look at the police report to see if any traffic violations were cited. Additionally, accident reconstruction specialists could be consulted by an attorney. Testimony from an expert could strengthen a case by providing more documentation about the alleged negligence. This information would be written into a lawsuit and then used to pursue a settlement.

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