Motor-vehicle deaths increased 6 percent nationwide last year, according to preliminary National Safety Council figures released last week and reported in the Seattle Times. That’s 14 percent higher than 2014 levels. Washington State bucked the trend though and actually saw a decrease in fatal traffic accidents last year. Of the 40,200 U.S. fatalities, 536 happened in Washington state — a reduction from 567 a year earlier.

With 40,000 fatalities, that is a rate of more than 100 a day, according to the National Safety Council. Driving miles increased 3 percent last year, but some officials say that’s not the cause for the increase in deaths. Instead, many blame distracted driving such as texting and talking on phones. An official with the National Safety Council says the top three issues causing fatal collisions are speeding, substance abuse and distraction.

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