Fatal car accidents increased last year in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They reported that fatal car crashes increased by five percent last year, resulting in 34,080 fatalities throughout the country.
This is the first time car accident fatalities have increased during the last seven years, leaving traffic safety officials wondering why more people are being killed in crashes. The NHTSA said they expected car accident fatalities to increase at some point since deaths had been declining during the last decade. However, they are unsure as to why traffic fatalities increased so quickly over one year.
Statistics show that Americans drove more miles in 2012 compared to 2011, increasing the risk for more people to be killed in car accidents. However, researchers are not sure why fatalities increased in every tested category last year. The NHTSA reported that fatal car accidents increased in all four seasons last year, showing that weather-related accidents is not one of the main reasons why fatalities rose.
In addition to more motorists being involved in fatal car crashes, bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities also increased last year. They reported that fatal bicycle accidents increased by nine percent last year, and pedestrian fatalities increased by four percent.
Motorcycle fatalities also increased during the last year. Motorcyclist deaths increased the most in 2012, with almost 15 percent of all traffic fatalities involving a motorcyclist. The NHTSA said they were not sure why motorcycle fatalities increased so much but said that they need to do a more specific study to determine what steps to take to reduce motorcycle fatalities in the U.S.
Regardless of the reasons for the increase in fatal car accidents, safety officials are hoping that new awareness programs and new rules for automakers can help reduce fatalities in the future.
Source: Aol Autos, "More Americans Dying on U.S. Roads," Pete Bigelow, May 7, 2013