Traffic Deaths Increased 5.6 Percent in 2016


Distracted driving fatalities actually went down

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A total of 37,461 people were killed on U.S. roads last year, according to new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That number is the highest since 2007, when 41,259 fatalities were reported.

Traffic deaths last year increased 5.6 percent compared to 2015. More pedestrians were killed than in any year since 1990, with the death toll reaching 5,987. Drunk driving fatalities rose 1.7 percent to 10,497, while speed-related deaths jumped 4 percent to 10,111. Last year also saw an increase in deaths among motorcyclists and bicyclists.

Deaths related to distracted driving actually fell last year. NHTSA recorded 3,450 fatalities in this category, a decrease of 2.2 percent compared to 2015. Drowsy driving fatalities also decreased by 3.5 percent to 803 fatalities.

Coinciding with the overall increase in traffic deaths last year is an increase in the number of vehicle miles driven. Drivers logged 2.2 percent more miles than in 2015, and there are now 1.18 fatalities for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled, says NHTSA.

The data follows a large increase in traffic fatalities from 2014 to 2015. In 2015, deaths jumped 8.4 percent from the previous year, the largest increase in traffic fatalities since the 1960s.

With the advent of autonomous cars and new safety technologies, the U.S. government has said it’s possible to end traffic fatalities by the year 2046.

Source: NHTSA

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