According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2016 saw a huge rise in traffic fatalities. Traffic deaths decreased between 2012 and 2014, but increased quickly in 2015 and 2016.
Traffic Fatalities are on the Rise
According to NHTSA statistics, during the first nine months of 2016, there were 27,875 traffic deaths in the United States. This is an eight percent increase from the 25,808 deaths that occurred during the first nine months of 2015.
It is important to note that not all areas of the country experienced the same increase in fatal accidents. When studying the trend, the NHTSA broke the country into regions.
Fatalities increased by 15 percent in the Southeast region, which includes Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Our region, containing New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, saw a two percent increase.
Although each region varied in percent, traffic fatalities increased in every region.
The NHTSA Does Not Know What is Causing This Rise
It is too soon to say exactly why the number of fatal traffic accidents is increasing, but the NHTSA has a few theories. Of course, one of the possible reasons that traffic fatalities increased last year is because, on average, Americans were driving more miles due to the improved economy and low gas prices. More time on the road means more chances of getting into an accident.
However, while Americans are driving more miles than ever before, the rise in traffic deaths exceeded the increase in miles traveled. So the extra miles alone cannot account for the total increase in traffic deaths.
According to an article by the Associated Press, other potential causes of the increased traffic deaths include distracted driving, weather, and even the passage of medicinal and recreational marijuana laws.
“The Road Ahead” Plan
In attempt to reverse the surge of traffic fatalities, the NHTSA has a plan in place called “The Road Ahead.” Ultimately, the goal of this program is to create an America with zero traffic fatalities each year.
Although it will be a difficult goal to achieve, the NHTSA believes that by working with automakers to improve car safety and by working with local state highway safety officers to improve driver behavior, we can accomplish that goal.
We have already seen a dramatic increase in car safety in the United States. Many new cars come with safety features such as automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring.
Pennsylvania is already part of the Vision Zero initiative dedicated to zero fatalities on U.S. roadways. Although Pennsylvania and New Jersey are doing their part to reduce accidents involving adults and teens, our roads are still far too dangerous.
For more information on keeping yourself and your family safe on the road, check out our blog. And if you or a loved one is ever injured in an accident, call Cordisco & Saile, LLC to discuss your legal options: 215-642-2335.