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Traffic Deaths Increased 6 Percent in 2016

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/18/2017 Motor Trend Staff
Car-Accident-Overturned-Car-Wreck1© Motor Trend Staff Car-Accident-Overturned-Car-Wreck1

An estimated 40,200 people were killed on U.S. roads last year, according to new data from the National Safety Council. That figure represents a 6-percent increase from 2015.

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The nonprofit organization estimates there were 1.25 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, up 3 percent. Costs related to motor vehicle deaths, injuries, and property damage increased 12 percent in 2016 to a staggering $432.5 billion. These increases seem large when you consider that U.S. drivers only drove 3 percent more miles last year compared to 2015.

Last year was the first time since 2007 that traffic deaths totaled over 40,000. Fatalities have been gradually increasing from 35,369 in 2013, 35,398 in 2014, and 37,757 in 2015.

New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii saw some of the largest increases in the rate of traffic fatalities last year, increasing 34 percent, 29 percent, and 27 percent, respectively. Wyoming saw the biggest decline in fatality rate at 23 percent. Estimates are provisional and may be updated when more data becomes available for 2016, NSC says.

It may seem a bit hopeless right now, but the U.S. government has set a goal to end all traffic fatalities by 2046. Autonomous cars should play a big role in hitting this deadline, although the government is also focused on improving seat belt use, promoting truck safety, launching behavior change campaigns, and installing more rumble strips on roads.

Source: National Safety Council

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