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Crash SceneWe’ve seen a steady decline in traffic deaths over the past couple decades, but according to a recent study by the National Safety Council, 2015 might be different. In the first half of the year, traffic deaths were up 14% compared to the same period in 2014, and serious injuries were up 30%. If things continue at this pace, 2015 will be the deadliest driving year since 2007.

What accounts for this increase in deaths and injuries? More driving.

A stronger economy, lower unemployment, and lower gas prices mean that more people are able to drive more miles for business and pleasure. The increased traffic leads to increased opportunities for crashes.

The NSC reminds people to take steps to increase safety, such as buckling up on every trip, using designated drivers, getting plenty of sleep, and never using cell phones. It probably goes without saying, but part of “buckling up” should include using proper child restraints, too.

This study might seem like grim news, but it’s important to remember how far vehicle safety has come in the past few decades, and even in the past few years. Advances in technology like air bags, blind spot avoidance systems, and back-up cameras mean that cars today are safer than they’ve ever been. Some good defensive driving and proper restraints can help make sure you and your family are as safe as possible this holiday season.