Reports from recent years have shown that traffic fatalities have, at times, been going up. This is surprising, considering how much safer cars have become. It’s also concerning since traffic accidents are already one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

Why is this happening? A lot of different factors play into it. Let’s break down a few of them.

One issue that some experts have pointed out is that people do not wear their seatbelts. This makes a fatality far more likely. They argue that seatbelt laws need to be more strict. This would not reduce the number of accidents, but it could reduce the number of fatalities in those accidents.

Others have also pointed to rising speed limits. They note that an increase in speed simply makes it more likely that someone will die in a crash — even when that increase is only five or 10 miles per hour. In some cases, excessive speed can also cause accidents that would not have happened at lower speeds.

Another issue is distracted driving. Smartphones have now been around for more than a decade. Even as lawmakers, advocacy groups and police officers work to reduce distracted driving, it still happens all the time. Like drunk driving, it can cause accidents that could easily have been avoided if drivers were not texting, taking pictures, talking on the phone or using social media.

These are just three potential reasons for the rise. If you lose a loved one in a crash for any reason, make sure you know what legal options you have.