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NHTSA: Traffic Fatalities Up Again in 2016


According to information released by federal highway safety regulators, U.S traffic fatalities rose for the second consecutive year in 2016, despite a reduction in the number of distracted driving fatalities.

The vehicle collision death toll reached 37,461 in 2016, the highest mark since 2007 according to figures released by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). The increase of 5.6 percent in traffic fatalities followed an 8.4 percent leap in 2015, which was the greatest annual increase since the mid 1960's.

Surprisingly, the increase in deaths was linked to other risky behaviors, rather than fatigued driving and distracted driving. Texting related fatalities actually declined by 2.2 percent. The largest overall gains in deaths were attributed to speeding, drunk driving and failure to wear a seatbelt. Drunk driving was listed as the number one cause for the increase in mortality.

The NHTSA said in a statement, "The agency continues to promote vehicle technologies that hold the potential to reduce the number of crashes and save lives every year. They may eventually help reduce or eliminate human error and the mistakes that people make behind the wheel."

Some of the increase in in motor vehicle crash deaths can be explained by the increase in the number of miles driven. A 2.2 percent increase in vehicle-miles traveled while the fatality rate rose 2.6 percent, which equates to 1.18 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, according to the agency. In 2015, miles driven increased by 2.3 percent.


Safety regulators have issued warnings regarding the increased dangers on the road and highways, following a downward trend over the last decade. In Washington, lawmakers are eyeing self-driving vehicles as a solution to the high incidence of deadly crashes. Legislation is being advanced to hasten the production and deployment of autonomous vehicles.

2016 also showed a rise pedestrian, motorcyclist and bicyclist deaths to nearly one third of crash fatalities. This number rose from approximately one-in-four deaths in 2007.

The NHTSA analysis of traffic fatalities in 2016 contained the following key findings:

· Distracted driver related fatalities (3,450) decreased by 2.2 percent

· Fatigued driving fatalities (803) decreased by 3.5 percent

· Drunk-driving fatalities (10,497) increased by 1.7 percent

· Speeding-related fatalities (10,111) increased by 1.7 percent

· Failure-to-wear-seatbelt fatalities (10,428) increased by 4.6 percent

· Motorcycle fatalities (5,296) increased by 5.1 percent (the highest number since 2008)

· Pedestrian fatalities (5,987) increased by 9.0 percent (the highest number since 1990)

· Bicyclist fatalities (840) increased by 1.3 percent (the highest number since 1991)

The NHTSA said in a statement that it continues to work closely with its state and local partners, law enforcement agencies and over 450 members of it's Road to Zero Coalition to further address the human behaviors that are linked to 94 percent of serious crashes.

Vititoe Law Group is committed to safer roads and highways. We have defended the rights of countless victims of auto accidents involving negligent drivers. If you or a loved one was injured or you lost someone due to the negligence or recklessness of another, we are here to help. Contact us today at 818-851-1886 for a free, confidential consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney. You may be entitled to a significant award.

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