Auto Accident Fatalities Seem to Rise

Posted On: July 19, 2016 under

According to preliminary estimates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2015 saw an increase of roughly 7.7 percent in traffic accident deaths over 2014. The agency’s data states that 35,200 drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians died in some sort of vehicle accident in 2015. What’s still unclear at this point is why the number of fatalities climbed so much in a year. The last time there was a similar number of deaths on the roads was in 2008, but those deaths still represented a drop in percentage from the previous year. The last year in which the percentage of deaths increased this significantly was 1964.

It’s possible, of course, that things like decreased gas prices and a better economy contributed to more cars being on the road and more frequent and longer trips, all of which would have raised the likelihood of fatal accidents. But such factors are unlikely to completely explain these numbers.

Both the NHTSA and the Department of Transportation have been looking at options for programs and technology that may help to decrease the number of accidents on the roads. From monitoring self-driving cars to asking for automated braking on all new vehicles to implementing safety initiatives for cyclists and pedestrians, multiple types of programs are gaining support in the effort to make our time around vehicles safer. Human error will always play a role in traffic fatalities, unfortunately, but steps can be taken to mitigate that as much as possible.
NHTSA will release their final 2015 statistics in November or December of this year. Hopefully, with further review, the numbers will shed further light on this problem and how to potentially fix it.