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U.S. Traffic Mortality Numbers on the Rise Because of Better Economy and Lower Gas Prices

The number of traffic deaths had been decreasing for about a decade, but a new report from the National Traffic Safety Administration shows that casualties caused by traffic-related accidents have risen by 8% in the first six months of this year. Surprisingly, it’s mainly caused by an improvement in the quality of life for most Americans.
Car accident 1 photo
The new estimate was unveiled recently by the NHTSA, and should be seen as an alarm call to all those people - approximately 42 million - who are about to hit the road to visit their families and spend Thanksgiving with them. The report mainly points that nothing really changed on the streets, it’s just that Americans drive more than in the previous years.

According to AP, officials released a final number of fatal crashes for 2014, which showed a decline of 0.1 percent, but it’s the first part of this year that is rather worrying. The big increase is due in part to lower gas prices and an improving economy, which is prompting people to travel more.

U.S. car owners have covered 1.54 trillion miles in the first half of 2015, up 3.5 percent from the same period in 2014. However, it’s not just the enthusiasm for driving more that caused this increase. According to NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, texting and other types of distracted driving are suspected to be part of the reason. Drunken, drugged and drowsy driving as well as the increase of teenagers taking over the steering wheel also make for probable causes.

Rosekind said 2014 statistics showed that distracted driving caused about 10 percent of the 32,675 traffic deaths that year. However, he stresses that, since driver distractions are hard to track, “our numbers underestimated exactly what’s going on out there.”

Meetings around the country are already set for early next year to get input on how NHTSA could cut traffic deaths, followed by a larger meeting in Washington. That would yield recommendations to address human decisions that cause 94 percent of all crashes.


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