Highway crash fatalities in the US increased in 2012, ending a 6-year streak of declines, the longest in the country’s history.
According to the NHTSA, crash fatalities in the US increased 5.3% to 34,080 in 2012, the rise coinciding with the Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s campaign against distracted driving. The fatality rate also increased from 1.1 to 1.16. According to the National Safety Council in 2012 US traffic deaths increased 5% to 36,200, the first rise over the past eight years.
“NSC is greatly concerned with the upswing in traffic fatalities on our nation’s roads,” said Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Although we have improved safety features in vehicles today, we also have new challenges, especially as it relates to teen and distracted driving, that need to be addressed on a national scale.”
A new report also shows that motorcycle deaths in the US increased 4.3% in January-September 2012 and continue to rise. The Governors Highway Safety Association’s report, which was released last month, says that an increase in motorcycle deaths last year was caused by record-high temperatures. During the first three months of 2012 rider deaths were up 24% and from 1997 to 2011 the number has more than doubled from 2,116 to 4,612, while overall tragic deaths dropped 23% from 42,013 to 32,367.