It seems that more and more New Yorkers know someone who has died in a car accident. There may be a reason for this. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accident fatalities rose in 2015. Traffic deaths went up 9.3 percent during the first nine months of 2015, compared to the first nine months of 2014.
The total number of traffic fatalities in 2015 comes to about 26,000, with a fatality rate of 1.1 deaths per 100 million U.S. miles traveled. Compared to recent years, these numbers are much too high. In 2014, the fatality rate was 1.05 deaths per 100 million miles.
While the U.S. Transportation Department does not know exactly what caused the rise at this time, the lower gas prices and the resulting increase in motorists hitting the roads could have played a role. Traffic was 3.5 percent higher during the first nine months of 2015 than the same time period in 2014.
Surprisingly though, statistics show that the increasing rate of roadway fatalities is much greater than the growth in number of vehicles on the road. And, the worst part about this increase in fatalities is that many of them could have been prevented. The NHTSA found that 94 percent of motor vehicle accidents are caused by human error.
The good news is that making behavioral changes can prevent these accidents in the future. An NHTSA Administrator announced that the NHTSA will be implementing new initiatives that deal with drunk driving, failure to wear seat belts and other issues commonly related to road fatalities.
Source: Business Insider, “U.S. traffic deaths increase sharply in 2015,” David Shepardson, Feb. 5, 2016