Traffic accident deaths on the rise

Last year, as many as 40,000 people died on US roads and highways that’s a more 6-percent increase from 2015.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) -The number of people who are killed in traffic accidents is increasing dramatically, according to new data released Wednesday by the National Safety Council. Last year, as many as 40,000 people died on US roads and highways. That is a more than 6% increase from 2015.

“It doesn’t surprise me, its crazy out there. There’s more traffic nowadays and people just rushing to get everywhere. It amazes me to see someone talking on the phone and in the other hand they’ve got a cigarette butt, maybe they’ve got kids in the back, a dog. Dogs sitting on people laps is really one of my pet peeves,” said Vivian Moreau of Chicopee.

A new survey released by the National Safety Council found that 13% of drivers said they drove after using marijuana, 10% after drinking alcohol.

That same survey found that about 60% of people said they were comfortable with speeding, nearly another 50% admitted to texting behind the wheel.

The NSC is calling for major changes in state and federal laws, including banning all cell phone use including “hands-free” by drivers. While Massachusetts has banned texting, you can still legally talk on your cell phone while driving.

“I don’t mind people talking, because you can still drive, but when you see them and you’ve got the thing on the steering wheel, you can see their eyes being up in a truck this high they’re not even paying attention to where they’re driving, and I’m surprised more people aren’t getting killed,” said Pat Romeo of Springfield.

The NSC also wants mandatory seat belt laws that extend to every passenger in every vehicle.