According to preliminary reports, there was a huge increase in traffic deaths nationwide last year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released an overview of 2015 fatalities earlier this year, and these reports show a seven percent increase in motor vehicle accident fatalities over 2014’s total.
Traffic Deaths Increased Nationwide in 2015
The final numbers show that over 35,000 people died in car accidents in the United States in 2015, an increase from the 2014 total of 32,675 fatalities. This 7.2 percent increase is significant enough to spur concern among both the Department of Transportation and auto manufacturers.
If these preliminary reports are correct, motor vehicle fatalities hit the highest level in seven years during 2015. The last year that topped the 35,200 projections was 2008, when the NHTSA reported 37,423 car accident deaths.
The increase in overall car crash fatalities was an almost nationwide phenomenon, with nine out of the ten U.S. regions seeing an uptick in injuries and deaths.
In Region 2, which includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, there was a four percent increase. The largest increase occurred in Region 10 — the Pacific Northwest — which saw a 20 percent increase. The only region that saw a decrease (one percent) was Region 6, which includes New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Nationwide, the most significant increases in traffic accident deaths occurred among pedestrians and bicyclists. These fatalities increased 10 and 13 percent, respectively. Other significant increases include:
- Crashes involving young drivers (ages 15-20): 10 percent
- Motorcyclists: 8.3 percent
- Truck crashes: 4 percent
And these fatalities are not decreasing. Initial reports for the first half of 2016 show more than 19,000 fatalities already. If this trend continues, we will have over 40,000 fatalities for the first time in nine years.
Possible Causes of Increase in Traffic Deaths
A thriving economy may contribute to this increase in traffic fatalities, at least in part. As the economy recovered from the downturn, the bounce back has led to lowered gas prices, more money for leisure activities and traveling, and a lower unemployment rate meaning more commuters. Together, these factors add up to more people on the road than in years before.
According to the NHTSA, the Department of Transportation is already taking action to address these increases. Earlier this year, they announced an agreement with car manufacturers that will push for a quick timeline on advanced safety features in new vehicles.
You can also help cut down on your chance of sustaining injuries in a car crash by following these tips:
- Always buckle your seatbelt
- Do not text and drive
- Avoid other distractions while driving
- Never drink and drive
- Obey speed limits, and drive slower in rain, snow or fog
- Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you
- Drive defensively
Get Help After a Car Accident in Pennsylvania or New Jersey
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey car crash, Cordisco & Saile LLC can help you get the compensation you deserve. Financial recovery is possible if your injuries occurred due to another driver’s negligent actions.
Call us today at 215-642-2335 to schedule a free initial, no-obligation consultation.