Both California and the U.S. saw a hike in traffic fatalities last year, reaching their highest level in nearly a decade. In the state, roughly 3,680 people died in traffic collisions, a 13% increase from the previous year. Nationally, that number hit an estimated 40,000, compared to 37,757 in 2015, the sharpest one-year increase in 53 years.
According to the National Safety Council, which released the report, the record increases can be partly attributed to the economic recovery. More people are on the roads now, which leads to more accidents. Another reason for the uptick is our fatalistic sense of complacency, said the council's president and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman.
"Americans believe there is nothing we can do to stop crashes from happening, but that isn't true," Hersman continued.
In fact, there are many things we can do to be safer on the road. Among them include the mandatory use of ignition interlock devices to keep impaired drivers from starting their cars, using automated cameras to track speeds, pedestrian safety programs, and expanded use of automated driving devices such as emergency braking and blind-spot and lane-departure warnings.