Data from 2014 documented 32,675 motor vehicle traffic deaths while more than 35,200 people lost their lives in traffic deaths in 2015, the highest number motor vehicle traffic fatalities since 2008, which recorded 37,423 fatalities from motor vehicle crashes. Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind explained 94% of crashes are caused by “human choice or error” involving distracted driving, intoxicated driving due to drugs or alcohol, texting and driving, speeding, and failure to use safety equipment such as seat belts and child safety seats. Cheaper gas has resulted in more cars on the road and may also partly explain the increase in traffic deaths.
Pedestrians and bicyclists suffered the most significant increase in fatalities from motor vehicle crashes. Fatalities involving younger drivers aged 15-20 years old increased 10% in 2015, and crashes with big trucks saw a 4% increase in fatalities. If you have been injured in an accident, read this.
The task now for officials at the local, state and national levels is to implore drivers to improve their behavior behind the wheel, and to encourage automakers to develop and improve technology designed to help lessen the effects of motor vehicles crashes, or to prevent them altogether. Technology such as self-driving vehicles and vehicle-to-vehicle communication is being developed to improve roadway safety, and a new agreement with automakers will require automatic emergency braking systems to be standard equipment on 99% of new vehicles by 2022.