Over the first 9 months of 2015, fatal traffic accidents on U.S. roadways increased by about 9.3 percent, according to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While previous reports (based on initial data) had pegged this increase at around 8 percent, the latest estimates indicate that the jump in deadly wrecks may be far more significant.
In particular, the latest estimates reveal that, while 23,796 people died in fatal traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2014, at least 26,000 traffic fatalities occurred in the U.S. last year. Although this increase in traffic deaths may be troubling enough on its own, it is especially problematic in light of the fact that this spike marks the first increase in traffic deaths since 2000 (in fact, from 2000 through 2014, traffic fatalities in the U.S. dropped by more than 22 percent).
As researchers continue to work on finalizing this data and calculating totals for 2015, NHTSA regulators are now taking action “to examine unsafe behaviors and human choices that contribute to increasing traffic deaths on a national scale.”
Commenting on these findings, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has stated:
For decades, U.S. DOT has been driving safety improvements on our roads, and those efforts have resulted in a steady decline in highway deaths… But the apparent increase in 2015 is a signal that we need to do more. The safety summits that NHTSA is kicking off today in Sacramento will provide us with new approaches to add to the tried-and-true tactics that we know save lives.
Similarly, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind has noted that:
We’re seeing red flags across the U.S. and we’re not waiting for the situation to develop further… It’s time to drive behavioral changes in traffic safety and that means taking on new initiatives and addressing persistent issues like drunk driving and failure to wear seat belts.
Traffic Fatality Rates by Region: Where the Biggest Increases Occurred in 2015
Breaking down the numbers further, officials analyzed crash data from 10 different regions of the nation to evaluate which areas have experienced the highest increases in traffic deaths in 2015. The following are the top 5 regions that saw the biggest increases (according to regulators):
- Region 10 (Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana) – 20% increase in traffic fatalities
- Region 16 (Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida) – 16% increase
- Region 3 (North Carolina, the Virginias, Kentucky, D.C. Maryland and Delaware) – 12% increase
- Region 5 (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio) – 12% increase
- Region 8 (Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, and the Dakotas) – 9% increase.
When regulators release the finalized data for 2015 traffic fatality rates in the U.S., we will provide the latest updates to you here, in a future blog post. In the meantime, please share your comments and opinions about these findings with us on Facebook & Google+.
Contact Littleton & Englewood Attorney D.J. Banovitz
If you have been hurt in a traffic crash – or if you have lost a loved one in a fatal auto accident, contact Littleton & Englewood Attorney D.J. Banovitz by calling (303) 300-5060 or by sending an email via the contact form on this page. When you contact Attorney D.J. Banovitz, you will receive honest answers about your case and options, as well as zealous representation and effective legal advocacy moving forward.
From offices based in Englewood, Colorado, Attorney D.J. Banovitz provides the highest quality representation to injured people throughout Arapahoe County, Denver County, Douglas County and the state of Colorado.