Fatal accidents rose 7.7 percent in 2015

More people died in traffic accidents in 2015 than in 2014, according to recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These tragic fatalities rose 7.7 percent last year, to 32,500 people. This data includes fatalities among motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians involved in motor vehicle-related incidents. The most significant increases were seen among bicyclists and pedestrians.

The NHTSA Administrator, Dr. Mark Rosekind, says the agency is working to determine the factors behind the increase, as well as plans for reducing motor vehicle accident fatalities. Dr. Rosekind says lower gas prices (and hence higher rates of driving) may have been part of the reason fatalities rose. But he also notes that 94 percent of accidents can be traced back to human error.

Human error and poor judgement can easily cause an accident. Careless or distracted motorists can cause crashes because of the following:

  • Drunk driving
  • Texting while driving
  • Drugged driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Speeding
  • Failure to wear seat belts

The NHTSA plans to work to improve motorist behavior while also pursuing vehicle technologies that prevent crashes in the first place, including vehicle-to-vehicle communication and technology to prevent drunk driving.