For five decades there was an annual decrease in the number of deaths caused by automobile accidents, this changed in 2015. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015, 35,092 people died in traffic accidents. This is a 7.2% increase over the previous year.
There are many factors that have made driving safer in the US including increased seatbelt use, a reduction in impaired driving, and technological advancements in vehicles. Despite the many efforts to promote safe driving, 2015 saw a sharp increase in fatalities.
According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, increased time spent on the road contributes to the rise in traffic fatalities. Job growth and low fuel prices equal increased driving and particularly an increase in leisure driving by young people.
Traffic accident fatalities involving pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists also increased sharply in 2015.
The majority of traffic accidents are caused by human error, below please find statistics released by the NHTSA regarding fatal accidents in 2015:
- 48% of occupants killed in 2015 were not wearing seatbelts.
- Alcohol impaired driving accounted for 29% of the 2015 traffic fatalities.
- Young drivers who died in fatal crashes increased by 10% from 2014.
- One in ten fatalities involved distraction.
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The sharp rise in fatalities is disconcerting to all of us who share the road. Despite the many advancements in vehicle technology and safety, traffic fatalities occur at an alarming rate. We can only hope that continued discussions about the dangers of drunk and impaired driving, distracted driving, and the importance of wearing a seatbelt will reverse this devastating trend.