More Deadly Traffic Accidents in 2016: Rising Risk of a Fatal Car Crash


More Deadly Traffic Accidents in 2016: Rising Risk of a Fatal Car Crash

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) oversees federal research into motor vehicle safety and the risk of deadly car crashes and fatal traffic accidents in this country.  The research is collected via the agency’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

FARS Annual Census Data Compiled Into New NHTSA Report

FARS keeps track of fatal motor vehicle accidents throughout the United States.  It is heralded as a nationwide census serving not only NHTSA but Congress and all of us, the American public, with the facts regarding deadly traffic accidents in this country.

Last week, the newest research report regarding fatal traffic accidents was released by NHTSA.  It is disturbing.  More people are dying in this country in fatal collisions on American roads. 

Read the new report here, entitled “2016 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview.”

Note: this covers only motor vehicles like cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, minivans, motorcycles, etc.  Large trucks and buses are researched and reported on independently.  See, e.g., FARS’ Trucks in Fatal Accidents database (TIFA) analyzing fatal commercial truck accidents and the Buses in Fatal Accident database (BIFA) for buses in fatal crashes.

Rise in Number of Traffic Fatalities

According to the new NHTSA Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes Report, there was a 5.6% jump in the number of fatal crashes in 2016 as compared to the prior year.

Consider this:  we know from NHTSA that in 2016 as well as 2015 and 2012, the number of people dying in motor vehicle accidents rose in the United States.

In 2016, this meant that 37,461 people were killed in traffic accidents; in 2015, the number who perished was 35,485.

For most of the year, every month (except for January, August, and December) the number got higher and higher.  The risk of death increased. 

February was the most dangerous month; more people died in fatal traffic accidents during that 28 day period than any other month In 2016.

We know that there were more vehicles on the American roads in 2016, too.  FARS found that the number of miles traveled was up 2.2%.  And the fatality rate was up 2.6% in 2016 as compared to the previous year.

In 2016, NHTSA reports that:

  • There were 102 fatal motor vehicle accidents each day in the United States;
  • There were 9,477 fatal accidents involving driving under the influence of alcohol;
  • There were 10,111 fatal crashes caused by speeding; and
  • Young Child fatalities (under the age of 5 years) totaled 394 (or over one child per day dying in a fatal crash).

Of the vehicles involved in these fatal accidents, 21% were passenger cars; 20% were light trucks; 2% were large trucks; and 25% were motorcycles. 

For more discussion on fatal motor vehicle accidents in Indiana and Illinois, read:

Increased Risk for Motorcycle, Bicycle, and Pedestrian Deaths

Motorcyclists are at an especially high risk of being in a fatal accident, according to the new research report.  Pedestrians, too.  Together, these two kinds of fatalities made up over a third of the increased percentage of total 2016 traffic fatalities.

There were more pedestrian deaths in 2016 than any year since 1990.  There were more bicycle deaths in 2016 than any year since 1991.

For more on the dangers facing Indiana and Illinois regarding these kinds of crashes, see:

Other Increasing Risks for Fatal Traffic Crashes

From the report, we also know there was an increase in the following kinds of motor vehicle accidents:

  • Alcohol-related deaths;
  • Speeding-related deaths; and
  • Unbelted deaths.

Read more about these risks of a deadly car accident here:

Why Are People Dying From Fatal Car Crashes in Greater Numbers?

According the FARS data, it appears that several causes can explain these tragic deaths.  Things like drunk driving, speeding, and failure to wear safety belts.

What about distracted driving?  What about people falling asleep at the wheel?  We’ll discuss those issues, as well as these other causes, in our next post.

There is a rising danger of being killed in a motor vehicle accident in this country according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Let’s be careful out there!

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