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Traffic Fatalities Generally Increase From July through September

Traffic fatalities are generally higher in the United States during the late summer months than any other time of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency recently released its "Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2015." The report shows that (with the exception of 2014) more people were killed in traffic accidents during the third quarter (July to September) each year from 2005 through 2015.

2015 Was a Deadly Year on U.S. Roads

The NHTSA estimates that traffic fatalities increased 7.7 percent in 2015 as compared to the year before, making last year the deadliest on U.S. roads since 2008. 

The preliminary data shows significant increases in fatalities throughout the country in several key categories, including:

  • Pedalcyclist fatalities increased 13 percent
  • Fatalities in crashes involving drivers between the ages of 15 to 20 rose 10 percent
  • Pedestrian fatalities also increased 10 percent
  • Motorcycle accident deaths rose 9 percent
  • Motor vehicle passenger fatalities increased 7 percent
  • Driver fatalities rose 6 percent
  • Fatalities in large truck accidents rose 4 percent

NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind told Overdrive Online that lower gas prices in 2015 played a role in the increase in traffic fatalities as overall vehicle-miles travelled increased 3.5 percent last year over the number of miles travelled that were recorded in 2014. He says, however, that the fatality rate is more than a function of statistics.

He emphasizes that driver error and the choices real people make on the roads are vital concerns. He says that road safety can be improved through modifying human behavior and continuing to improve safety technology in vehicles are important aspects of road safety.

Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2015," July 2016; Overdrive, "Report indicates truck-involved fatalities up in 2015," by Matt Cole, 5 July 201

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