2016 road fatality deaths are turning out to be the deadliest for America’s roadways in nearly a decade. Sadly, we had to write that same sentence just last year for road deaths in 2015, which was already the worst year for roadway deaths in eight years and saw the first increase in roadway deaths in over 50 years.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA), in just the first 9 months of 2016 an estimated 27,875 lives were lost on U.S. roadways. This represents an increase of 8% over the first 9 months of 2015, which was already an increase of 8.3% from the previous year, combining for a two-year increase in roadway deaths of over 16%.
The dramatic increase in roadway deaths was previously explained by an increase in miles driven as the economy rebounded from the 2007-2010 economic downturn. However, as the NHTSA report stated, the estimated vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) only increased by 3% for the first 9 months of 2016, while the death rate increased by 8%.
The disparity between the small VMT increase and drastic increase in roadway deaths indicates something else might be happening. Department of Transportation chief data officer Dan Morgan called for more research to get to the bottom of the spike in deaths, stating “we hope we can find some data sources out there in the private sector that can help us understand what's happening on our roads.”
While research into the causes of the increase in roadway deaths is ongoing, undoubtedly distracted driving—mainly cell phones—are a major factor in escalating roadway deaths. Please make sure you and those you love are buckled up, sober, and are not distracted before getting behind the wheel of a car, semi-truck, or motorcycle.
Here at the Poppe Law Firm, we represent people who are injured in car wrecks, motorcycle wrecks, or semi-truck wrecks and other roadway accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured in a traffic accident, or if someone you know lost their life in a traffic accident, please call the Poppe Law Firm at (502) 895-3400 or fill out our online intake form.