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Latest Motor Vehicle Crash Fatality Data Should Serve as Wake-Up Call

Our roadways are growing more dangerous, according to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency recently confirmed that traffic fatalities spiked more than seven percent in 2015, bringing a sudden end to a five-decade trend of declining road deaths.

Thanks to increased seat belt use, reduced rates of impaired driving, and advances in automotive technology, the number of deaths on U.S. roadways has steadily declined. However, the recent spike in fatalities reduced the decade-long downward trend of almost 25 percent by more than one-third.

In total, 35,092 people died in motor vehicle accidents during 2015, an increase from 32,744 in 2014. The 7.2-percent increase is the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years.

Equally concerning, traffic deaths increased across nearly every segment of the population. Below are a few key statistics from NHTSA:

  • Motorcyclist fatalities increased by 382 (8.3-percent increase), and the number is the largest since 2012.
  • Pedestrian fatalities increased by 466 (9.5-percent increase), and are at their highest number since 1996.
  • Pedalcyclist fatalities increased by 89 (12.2-percent increase), and are at their highest level since 1995.
  • Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased by 3.2 percent, from 9,943 in 2014 to 10,265 in 2015.

Understandably, safety officials are concerned. While increased motor vehicle travel played some role in the fatality increase, other factors also contributed. NHTSA data revealed that nearly half of passenger vehicle occupants killed were not wearing seat belts. Research also shows that almost one in three fatalities involved drunk drivers or speeding, and one in ten fatalities involved distraction.

"The data tell us that people die when they drive drunk, distracted, or drowsy, or if they are speeding or unbuckled," said NHTSA Administrator, Dr. Mark Rosekind. "While there have been enormous improvements in many of these areas, we need to find new solutions to end traffic fatalities."

If you or someone you care about has suffered serious injury in a motor vehicle crash, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. After a serious California car accident, we can advocate on your behalf to help hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions and seek the compensation you deserve.