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Traffic Fatalities have significantly increased in 2015. The last single-year increase of this scale was in 1966, when fatalities rose 8.1% from the previous year.
According to the NTHSA, the nation lost 35,092 people in traffic crashes in 2015. This ended a 5-decade trend of declining fatalities with a 7.2% increase in deaths from 2014. That is 2,348 more traffic fatalities than the previous year.
The number of traffic deaths was nearly 25% higher with 42,708 fatalities reported nationwide in 2005. Subsequently, safety paradigms have aided towards dropping the number of vehicle deaths. Safety precautions include an increase in seat belt usage and reducing impaired driving. Vehicle enhancements, such as air bags and electronic stability control, have also contributed to plummeting vehicle fatalities.
Even with decades of effective safety improvements, there are still disturbingly high traffic fatality statistics. As a result, the U.S. Transportation Secretary is issuing action asking researchers, experts, data scientists to support in finding alternative ways to decrease fatalities.
As stated with the NHTSA, job growth and low fuel prices were two predominant factors that led to increased driving. More leisure driving is directly correlated to higher fatality rates. In 2015, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased 3.5% over 2014, the largest increase in nearly 25 years.
NHTSA also noted human influences continued to contribute to the majority of crashes. Almost half of passenger vehicle occupants killed were not wearing their seat belts. Research indicates almost one in three traffic fatalities involved drunk drivers or speeding. One in 10 fatalities involved distraction.
“The data tell us that people die when they drive drunk, distracted, or drowsy, or if they are speeding or unbuckled,” said NHTSA Administrator, Dr. Mark Rosekind.
Traffic fatalities continue to climb due to more frequent driving regardless of the many numerous improvements. Therefore, we must develop new innovative techniques to reduce traffic fatalities.
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