Preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows a sharp rise in traffic fatalities during the first nine months of 2015. According to recent estimates, 2015 saw a 9.3 percent increase in roadway deaths.

For decades the agency has been pushing safety improvements on roads, which translated into a steady decline in traffic deaths. Traffic fatalities declined 1.2 percent in 2014 and more than 22 percent between 2000 and 2014.

However, last year’s numbers are a clear indication that more needs to be done.

It is estimated that more than 26,000 people died in traffic accidents during the first part of 2015, compared to 23,796 fatalities during the same period in 2014. Nationally, regions showed increases between two and 20 percent.

These numbers have ignited a renewed determination by the NHTSA to work to lower the number of traffic accidents and fatalities that happen throughout the country.

The news coincides with the start of a series of regional summits in which industry leaders will examine how human behaviors contribute to rising fatality numbers and how the agency can influence change.

According to NHTSA research, human factors contribute to 94 percent of auto accidents. Activities like drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding and not wearing a seat belt are some of the most common human behaviors that lead to traffic fatalities.

The agency hopes to identify new approaches to curbing negligent human behavior while behind the wheel in order to make our roads safe again.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident because of another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Learn more about your legal options by contacting our Silver Spring auto accident attorneys for a free case review.