The traffic fatality numbers from the first half of 2015 represent an estimated increase from the prior year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the final numbers for 2014 traffic deaths, as well as the estimate for 2015, this week. The NHTSA cited the increase in calling for renewed efforts to combat the dangerous behaviors that contribute to so many fatal car and truck accidents. With an estimated increase in both the fatality rate and total fatality numbers, 2015 is on pace to reverse a long-standing general trend of safer motor vehicle travel.
The Secretary of the Department of Transportation referred to the numbers as “a call to action.” He promised that the agency would redouble efforts to improve road safety and called for legislators, law enforcement, auto makers, safety groups and motorists to increase their vigilance as well.
The NHTSA has already begun a number of new safety initiatives to combat the most recent trends in dangerous driving. Those initiatives include technological and behavioral efforts at improving safety. The NHTSA has ongoing efforts to combat drowsy driving, drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving and other known safety hazards.
In 2014, the traffic fatality rate hit an all-time low. There were 1.07 deaths for every 100 million miles traveled by vehicle last year. The total number of traffic deaths was 32,675. The early estimates for 2015 show an increase of 8.1 percent in total fatalities and an increase of 4.4 percent in the fatality rate. The NHTSA did acknowledge that partial-year estimates may be revised and are more volatile than year-to-year numbers.
Source: NHTSA Press Release, “Traffic fatalities fall in 2014, but early estimates show 2015 trending higher,” 24 November 2015