We drive vehicles because it is a nice and convenient way to get around. Owing a vehicle is very common in Washington and other states across the nation; however, car ownership comes with duties and obligations. All drivers are required to follow the rules of the road and drive safely. Unfortunately, this does not prevent some drivers from driving recklessly, intoxicated, distracted or fatigued. These are dangerous situations and could be the cause of a serious or even fatal accident.

What is the rate of fatal motor vehicle accidents in Washington State? Based on recent data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington State experienced 537 fatalities in 2016. Of these, 238 occurred in rural areas while 298 took place in urban areas. These fatalities involved 332 passenger vehicles, 81 motorcyclists, 84 pedestrians and 17 cyclists.

With regards to the cause of these fatal crashes, impaired drivers with a BAC of 0.08 and higher caused 161. This is 30 percent of all fatal crashes occurring in the state. When compared to the rate across the U.S., drunk driving caused 28 percent of fatalities that year. The state with the lowest rate of alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities had a rate of 19 percent.

Speed is also a common factor in fatal crashes. In the state of Washington, this was the cause of 154 fatal crashes. All in all, the fatal crash rate in the state of Washington was 7.37 in 2016. In comparison, the U.S. rate was 11.59, with the best state having a rate of 3.96 deaths per 100,000 people.

No matter the cause of a fatal crash, surviving loved ones need to understand the details of the crash and what legal recourses they might have. By investigating the cause, liability could be determined. If you have lost a loved one because of a fatal crash, it is possible to hold that driver accountable. A wrongful death suit could help place liability on a negligent driver while also helping with the recovery of compensation for losses and damages.

Source: Nhtsa.gov, “Traffic Safety Performance (Core Outcome) Measures For Washington,” accessed Nov. 11, 2017