NHTSA Statistics Raise Concerns Over Rise in 2016 Traffic Deaths

UCLA Football player crash

October 24, 2016

Ellis Law Corporation


According to data released earlier this month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more and more people are losing their lives on roadways across the country, a figure which goes beyond drivers and their passengers to include increasing numbers of cyclists, pedestrians and others.

The figures included in the report reveal a dramatic 10 percent increase in traffic fatalities for the first six months of 2016 as compared to the same period of time the prior year.

Alarming data underscores need for action

The statistics published by NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis show that between January and June of this year, roughly 18,000 individuals were killed in automobile accidents, a tally that is up from 16,000 for the identical period in 2015. NHTSA officials ominously declared that the fatality rate measured in the second quarter of this year is in fact the seventh quarter in a row marked by a rise in traffic deaths.

Researchers further noted that recent increases in traffic deaths across the United States were due in large part to a rise in motorcyclist, pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities. The number of deaths within these categories recently reached the highest levels seen in the previous twenty years. Though growing numbers of Americans are making an effort to bike or walk to work, safety measures designed to protect such individuals are lagging in a number of urban areas. In many such locations, local governments simply do not have available funding to install bike lanes, paths and barriers, an issue which advocates believe needs prompt attention at state and federal levels.

NHTSA chief declares immediate crisis

Mark Rosekind, NHTSA Administrator has opined that the clear rise in traffic fatalities represents an immediate crisis which must be addressed by government officials, automakers and all other categories of stakeholders. Experts have pointed to distracted driving and the ubiquitous use of smartphones behind the wheel as a particularly worrisome driver of roadway deaths.

It is thought that increased educational initiatives in this area as well as broader implementation of safety features such as semi-autonomous vehicle technologies may help stem the deadly tide. In addition, NHTSA has announced plans to convene safety advocates, federal agencies and others in an effort to develop specific initiatives meant to tackle the topics of speed limits, roadway designs and other areas relevant the the overall goal of reducing traffic fatalities in a significant way.

Auto accidents and their massive toll on victims

According to a 2014 NHTSA study, auto accidents in the United States exact more than $836 billion in total societal harm and economic damages. The number in aggregate is staggering, but the resulting devastation can be seen in even sharper relief when considered on the individual or family level. Mounting medical bills, weeks or months of foregone wages, ongoing therapy costs and other categories of loss can build to an utterly unmanageable degree, leaving victims in doubt as to how they will be able to move forward. Circumstances of this type are even more tragic when they are caused by the negligent acts or omissions of another party with whom the injured individual shared the road.

Southern California car accident attorneys

At Ellis Law, we appreciate the seemingly insurmountable challenges faced by auto accident victims and have dedicated our practice to fighting for the rights of the injured. If you have suffered serious harm due to the negligence of another driver, our Los Angeles car accident lawyers have the resources and skill to protect your rights. To begin pursuit of the financial compensation you deserve following a traffic accident, we invite you to contact us at 310-641-3335 and speak with a qualified personal injury lawyer about next steps.