First Half of 2016 Shows Alarming Increase in Road Deaths
If traffic fatalities for 2015 were alarming, 2016 shows more reason to be concerned. According to a report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 17,775 people died in motor vehicle crashes during the first half of 2016. The 16,000 fatalities recorded same time last year already caused alarm but this year, it’s even topped by 10.4 percent.
Improving economy and more people driving are among the issues experts relate to the increase in the number of miles driven last year and this year. However, experts argue that this alone is not enough to explain the rise in road fatalities.
For last year’s road deaths, government analysts found that the increase was most prominent among pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. This suggests that protecting bike lanes may be able to help save lives.
While it is not clear what exactly caused the rise in motor vehicle fatalities, one thing is for sure - these deaths can be prevented. Ways we can contribute to increasing safety on roads do not need to be grand. Simple changes in behavior can help a great deal, especially when passed along to young drivers at home.
Young drivers continue to be the most vulnerable group in traffic crashes. In 2013 alone, 2,163 teens ages 16-19 were killed, while 243,243 were treated for injuries. Avoiding use of smartphones while behind the wheel and driving sober can help lower these figures.