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Federal Report Confirms Highway Fatalities Increased in 2012

While traffic deaths remain at historic lows, 2012 saw an increase in the number of fatalities on U.S. roadways. As San Diego car accident attorneys, we hope that the latest figures are not the start of a backwards trend in terms of road safety.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, highway fatalities rose to 33,561 in 2012, which represents 1,082 more traffic deaths than occurred in 2011. It is also the first such increase in five years.

“As a public health and safety agency, any increase in the number of deaths is cause for concern. While we’re seeing some unfortunate trends, we’re also seeing progress in some parts of the country,” said NHTSA Administrator David L. Strickland. “We will continue to work closely with our federal, state and local partners to change the way motorists behave on our roadways and build public awareness of key issues that have the potential to save many lives.”

Below are several key safety concerns revealed in the NHTSA report:

  • Pedestrians: Fatalities climbed 6.4 percent over 2011 figures, which represents the third straight year of increased pedestrian deaths. Risk factors included non-intersections, urban environments, nighttime, and alcohol impairment.
  • Motorcyclists: Deadly motorcycle accidents also continue to increase. The 7.1 percent spike represents the third consecutive year of rising fatalities.
  • Impaired Driving: Traffic fatalities in crashes involving drunk drivers increased 4.6 percent in 2012. In the majority of the accidents, the drivers’ blood-alcohol content was nearly double the legal limit.
  • Distracted Driving: While deaths associated with distracted driving crashes dipped slightly in 2012, the number of injuries increased 9 percent.
  • Seat belt use: Drivers frequently do not buckle-up at night. In fatal nighttime crashes in 2012, almost two-thirds of the victims were unrestrained.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a San Diego motor vehicle accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.