Posted on: June 18, 2017
The largest annual increase in highway deaths occurred in 2015. The past four decades witnessed a steady decline in fatalities, but this trend was broken in 2015 when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported the largest annual percentage increase in 50 years. The also NHTSA reported that, with the statistics they collected thus far for 2016, it seems those numbers may likely reveal an even higher jump in crash fatalities.
Many deaths and injuries were due to alcohol. Of the 35,092 fatalities in 2015, 9,306 were related to alcohol impaired driving, with a total of 10,265 fatalities. Tractor trailer and large truck fatalities also experienced a spike from 2013 to 2015. In 2015, there were 4,067 fatalities in crashes, and 3,981 in 2013. Injuries from large truck crashes in 2015 totaled to 116,000, while this number was down to 95,000 in 2013.
Motorcycle deaths and injuries were high as well. Motorcyclist fatalities totaled at 4,976 and 88,000 were injured. Of the nearly 5,000 fatalities, 1,938 were not wearing helmets. Speeding fatalities experienced a minor decrease, accounting for 27% of fatalities compared to 29% in 2013. However, pedestrian fatalities increased from 4,779 in 2013 to 5,376 in 2015. Injuries increased from 66,000 in 2013 to 70,000 in 2015.
While there are clearly a host of causes for these grim numbers, the Department of Transportation has stated that some of the more recent technological advances, such as the ubiquitous use of smartphones while driving, may have contributed to this recent upward trend in fatal crashes.
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To view more of the statistics from the NHTSA, click here.