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The Changing Face Of Traffic Deaths

In the United States, the rate of fatalities caused by traffic accidents has steadily decreased in recent years. The Fatal Analysis Reporting System is the tool used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to better understand deadly crashes. According to FARS data, 2014 was perhaps the safest year on record for American drivers. The fatality rate of 1.07 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was the lowest ever recorded. Unfortunately, the preliminary numbers for 2015 are not as promising.

While the NHTSA will not release final crash data for 2015 until this time next year, it has released an estimate based on the first six months of the year. The estimate is subject to revision and may not be reflective of the final number once the calendar year is complete. That said, 2015 is shaping up to be a poor follow-up to the safety gains of 2014. 

According to NHTSA data, traffic fatalities are 8.1 higher than in 2014. The fatality rate is up by 4.4 percent over the same time period from last year. The numbers caused the head of the transportation department to promise a redoubling of efforts on improving safety. As part of these efforts, it is likely the DOT will target known hazards that lead to deadly accidents. These include speeding, drunk or drugged driving, drowsy driving and distracted driving.

The vast majority of fatal car and truck accidents are preventable. They are the result of unsafe driving behavior. If drivers can refrain from driving negligently, thousands of lives will be saved. If people would simply take the time to buckle up, hundreds of deaths per year could be prevented. Drivers should take the time to consider what they can do to make American roads safer for everyone.

Source: NHTSA, "Traffic fatalities fall in 2014, but early estimates show 2015 trending higher," 24 November 2015 

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