US: highway fatalities to jump to eight-year high image

Following long years of steady decline, the rate of highway deaths this year has suddenly spiked and if the trend remains on par, the US could see its roadway death toll jump to the highest threshold since 2007.

According to the National Safety Council, the financial impact will follow the same trend, jumping by 24 percent during the first six months of the year alone – with deaths, injuries and property damage being bundled together. “Follow the numbers: the trend we are seeing on our roadways is like a flashing red light – danger lies ahead,” commented Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. Since last year the NSC has been signaling the traffic fatalities have started to climb, the trend starting late in 2014 and carrying this year. According to the report from the non-profit organization, almost 19,000 persons have been killed in traffic accidents in the US during the first six months of the year, with at least 2.2 million people seriously injured. The reasoning on the rising death count is still blurry, especially since for years it has been declining steadily.

If the unfortunate pace holds up, this would be the highest death rate year in the US since 2007. NSC says two main factors could contribute to the trend: the cheaper gas and improving economy. “This generally means an increase in traffic; more people can afford to drive, and many travel longer distances and take vacations,” commented the organization in a statement. Even with the latest increase, the US highway death rate is almost 40 percent lower than it was four decades ago when it had its peak.