Traffic Deaths Increased in 2015

On February 17, the National Safety Council (NSC) released statistics indicating that the percentage increase in highway fatalities last year was the largest in the last 50 years. The estimate may be revised as more data become available, but the report shows that 38,300 people died on U.S. roads in 2015, and approximately 4.4 million others were involved in accidents that required them to seek medical care. The 8 percent increase in highway fatalities last year compares with a less than 0.5 percent increase the previous year and a 3 percent decline in 2013. Deborah Hersman, NSC president and CEO, said that an increase of this size has not been seen in 50 years and that the change is statistically significant. The NSC attributed the increase primarily to the improving economy and falling gas prices, factors that generally work together to result in more miles driven. The total cost of traffic accidents, including deaths, injuries, property damage, wage and productivity losses and medical expenses as well as administrative and employer expenses, totaled an estimated $421.1 billion in 2015.

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