In 2014, the number of people in the U.S. who died in traffic accidents fell to 32,675, just a 0.1 percent decrease from the previous year, but still continuing a general decade-long decline. That’s more than 10,000 fewer deaths than in 2005, a remarkable improvement.
This year may break that impressive trend, however. Federal officials say that a statistical projection for the first six months of 2015 shows a sharp upward trend in traffic fatalities, an increase of 8 percent compared to the same period in 2014.
The 2014 analysis and the 2015 projection recently were reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency noted some of the key factors involved in fatal accidents during 2014:
- Distracted driving was reported in 10 percent of fatal crashes.
- Speeding occurred in 28 percent of all fatal accidents.
- Alcohol impairment accounted for 31 percent of all traffic deaths.
Notably, the NHTSA reports that 49 percent of passengers who died were not wearing seatbelts – a grim reminder that everyone in a vehicle must buckle up.
Getting behind the wheel is one of the most dangerous things many of us do each day. It’s essential that we are vigilant, sober, focused and wearing seatbelts. That way we stand at least a chance of avoiding collision with other drivers who may not be following the rules.