A new report from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration outlines the increasingly disturbing uptick in motor vehicle accident fatalities and traffic related fatalities. According to the report, in 2016 there were 37,461 traffic deaths in the U.S., and 5,987 pedestrian deaths. Those figures represent 5.6 percent and 9 percent increases, respectively, over the previous year.
The pedestrian fatality number is the highest since 1990. In addition, drunk driving deaths and biking deaths both increased as well in 2016 — 1.7 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. Even deaths related to speeding drivers increased, a figure that jumped 4 percent in 2016. Almost across the board, death numbers jumped.
If there is a silver lining, it is that distracted driving deaths actually declined by 2.2 percent in 2016. Drowsy driving deaths also declined by 3.5 percent. But the distracted driving figure is arguably more important, given the staggering increase in that behavior over the last decade.
Ultimately, this story serves as a warning and a reminder. It is a warning because road safety is clearly declining, and has been for a couple of years at least. So for those who are out driving on the road — please keep your head on a swivel and be safe. To other people out on the road, from bicyclists to pedestrians, you should also be very cautious out there.
It is also a reminder that when an accident happens, the victims may have a civil case to make out of the incident should one of the drivers involved be deemed negligent.
Source: NHTSA, “2016 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview,” Accessed Oct. 16, 2017