Traffic fatalities have been declining since 2005. Unfortunately, that trend did not continue in 2012. The National Safety Council reported that traffic fatalities increased for the first time in seven years in 2012.
The National Safety Council reported that there were roughly 36,200 car accident fatalities in 2012, an increase of five percent from 2011. The number of car accidents that resulted in injuries requiring medical attention also increased by five percent in 2012.
Safety organizations said that there are safer, newer vehicles on U.S. roads than ever before. In addition, more people are wearing their seat belts. So why did traffic fatalities increase?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that there were a few areas of concern that will need to be addressed to keep roads safer and reduce the number of fatal and serious car accidents in the U.S.
One of the main concerns noted by the NHTSA was that there were more commercial vehicles driving on U.S. highways and many studies have shown that car accident fatalities increase when more commercial vehicles are driving.
Another area of concern that may have contributed to the increase in accidents is that more fatal car accidents involved motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. This is significant safety issue because more people are riding motorcycles and bicycles to reduce carbon emissions as well as more pedestrians are walking in larger cities. The safety concerns for all three of these types of transportation will need to be addressed to reduce fatalities in the future.
Perhaps the biggest concern for the NHTSA is the danger of distracted driving and how it has continued to contribute to serious and fatal car accidents. They have already started to work on raising awareness of distracted driving but many safety groups believe more needs to be done to truly impact these types of accidents.
Source: The Christian Science Monitor, “US traffic fatalities rise for first time since 2005, nonprofit says,” Richard Read, Feb. 21, 2013