The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released preliminary data last week that showed a 7.7 percent increase in motor vehicle traffic deaths in 2015. It has been estimated that 35,200 people died, which a significant increase from the 32,675 reported fatalities in 2014.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “Every American should be able to drive, ride or walk to their destination safely, every time.”
In regards to what could be causing the increase in fatalities and the NHSTA’s current action, he noted, “We are analyzing the data to determine what factors contributed to the increase in fatalities and at the same time, we are aggressively testing new safety technologies, new ways to improve driver behavior, and new ways to analyze the data we have, as we work with the entire road safety community to take this challenge head-on.”
The preliminary data collected by the NHSTA shows that there were an increased amount of traffic deaths in 9 out of 10 regions in the United States. Where did the most significant increases of fatalities come from? Pedestrians and bicyclists.
NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind explained, “As the economy has improved and gas prices have fallen, more Americans are driving more miles, but that only explains part of the increase. Ninety-four percent of crashes can be tied back to a human choice or error, so we know we need to focus our efforts on improving human behavior while promoting vehicle technology that not only protects people in crashes but helps prevent crashes in the first place.”
The NHTSA is working to prevent crashes by working as a key force in promoting the development of automated safety technologies. A few months ago, in March, the Department of Transportation announced their agreement with automakers that requires more than 99 percent of new vehicles to have an automatic breaking standard by 2022.
They are also working to require that new vehicles have vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems. This technology could greatly help drivers avoid crashes, especially those that involve unimpaired drivers. These safety technologies could stop the increase in automobile fatalities and instead prevent thousands of crashes.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an automobile accident, please contact us or call us at 800-676-5295 and our experienced attorneys can help answer your questions.