According to the National Safety Council (NSC), advancements in safety technology can only carry the traffic accident statistics so far. Apparently lower gas prices and a stronger economy were more influential factors in contributing to the largest increase in car accident fatalities in the past five decades.
The final tally has not been made, however, early estimates from the NSC indicate that approximately 38,300 people died on U.S. roads last year, and an additional 4.4 million sustained serious injuries. That’s the largest number of traffic deaths since 2008.
The National Safety Council cited the states with the most significant increase in traffic fatalities. Those four states are:
- Georgia – 22 percent
- Florida – 18 percent
- South Carolina – 16 percent
- Oregon – 27 percent
Thirteen states, however, did witness a reduction in the number of car accident deaths. Among those are:
- Kansas – 7 percent
- New Jersey – 2 percent
- New Mexico – 20 percent
President and CEO of the National Safety Council, Deborah A.P. Hersman worries that these numbers are indicative of a society that is now taking its safety on the road for granted. She warns that motorists should stay vigilant while behind the wheel and continue to practice defensive driving skills.
Until these recent figures came in, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asserts that the United States had been experiencing a general downward trend in the occurrence of motor vehicle crash deaths. A record low of 1.07 deaths per million vehicle miles traveled was logged in 2014.
Data from the NHTSA backs up the numbers the National Safety Council is projecting. It reports seeing a 4.4 percent increase in the number of traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The NHTSA also reports that the number of vehicle miles traveled on U.S. roads in 2015 increased only by 3.5 percent.
Experts at NHTSA report that circumstances such as less expensive fuel and job growth play a significant role in these numbers because they typically herald more vehicle miles driven, including recreational driving and teen driving.
Both agencies are beseeching motorists to make those miles safer by wearing seat belts, not driving under the influence, while tired or distracted.
This increase in traffic fatalities comes amid the greatest advancements in automotive safety technology in the history of the automobile. In fact, nine vehicle models recorded zero driver deaths in a recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study.
When examining 2011 models through the 2012 calendar year, the IIHS found that driver fatalities per 100 million registered vehicle years decreased to 28 from 48 deaths only three years prior.
Features including electronic stability control and enhanced vehicle design are attributed to the decrease in fatalities.
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