Traffic Fatalities on Rise, NHTSA Finds
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Traffic Fatalities on Rise, NHTSA Finds

firefighter with car accident victim

Motor vehicle deaths are on the rise in 2015, according to a preliminary report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The organization found a 7.7 percent increase in motor vehicle fatalities overall, with particular concern over the increases in deaths of motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

According to the NHTSA report, an estimated 35,200 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2015, up from the 32,675 that died the year prior. Nine out of 10 regions in the U.S. saw increases in fatalities, including the region that includes California, Arizona and Hawaii. That area saw an uptick in fatalities of six percent.

Motor vehicle deaths increase across the board

The largest increases applied to pedestrians and bicyclists, although motorcycle drivers saw higher numbers as well. Bicyclists had a 13-percent increase in fatalities, the highest increase for the year. They were followed by pedestrians, who saw a 10-percent increase and motorcyclists that had a nine-percent increase. Fatalities to drivers of motor vehicles and their passengers did not increase quite as much, at six percent and seven percent, respectively.

“Every American should be able to drive, ride or walk to their destination safely, every time,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox stated in a press release on the NHTSA website. “We are analyzing the data to determine what factors contributed to the increase in fatalities 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.”

One of the factors that is immediately apparent is the increase in the number of miles drivers traveled on U.S. roads during 2015. According to data received from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Americans traveled approximately 107.2 billion miles in 2015, which marks a 3.5-percent increase from 2014. The additional mileage could be attributed in part to a more robust economy and lower gas prices during 2015, one NHTSA administrator noted.

Other evidence of increasing auto fatalities

This is not the only report to note the increase in fatalities on the roads in 2015. National Public Radio reported on new figures from the National Safety Council that showed 2015 demonstrated the largest increase in traffic fatalities in 50 years. This organization also attributed the uptick to lower gas prices and a stronger economy.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, California saw 2,833 fatal crashes in 2014 that resulted in 3,074 fatalities. Of those numbers, 36 percent were car occupants, 17 percent were motorcyclists, 23 percent were pedestrians and four percent were bicyclists. The rest of the fatalities were either occupants in SUVs and pick-up trucks, or large trucks.

The numbers are concerning indeed, considering that in addition to the fatalities associated with catastrophic motor vehicle accidents, significant injuries can also occur. Some of the most common types of injuries in serious motor vehicle crashes include bone fractures, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries. Any of these injuries can be both debilitating and life changing, requiring ongoing medical care and other special services just to function on a daily basis.

Legal help after a car accident death

If you are the victim of a traffic accident, or you have lost a loved one in one of these events, the consequences can be devastating. Compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other non-economic losses can help families start to get back on their feet. That is why you need the professional services of a seasoned law firm like Ellis Law to help you pursue all of the damages you are entitled to.

Do not try to navigate the complex legal process on your own. Contact Ellis Law today at 1-800-INJURED for a free case review and answers to all of your legal questions.