Fatalities in crashes involving large trucks increased by 4 percent in 2015, according to preliminary data just released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Overall, motor vehicle traffic deaths in 2015 show a 7.7 percent increase. An estimated 35,200 people died in 2015, up from the 32,675 reported fatalities in 2014.
Although the data are preliminary and requires additional analysis, the early NHTSA estimate shows 9 out of 10 regions within the United States had increased traffic deaths in 2015. The most significant increases came for pedestrians and bicyclists, the agency notes.
“Every American should be able to drive, ride or walk to their destination safely, every time,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We are analyzing the data to determine what factors contributed to the increase in fatalities and at the same time, we are aggressively testing new safety technologies, new ways to improve driver behavior, and new ways to analyze the data we have, as we work with the entire road safety community to take this challenge head-on.”
When the final dataset is released later this summer, DOT and NHTSA will issue a call to action to safety partners, state and local elected officials, technologists, data scientists and policy experts to join the Department in searching for more definitive answers and developing creative, open data-driven solutions to improve safety and reduce deaths caused by motor vehicles.
The DOT is also pressing forward with new guidance to promote the development of automated safety technologies which could greatly decrease the number of crashes.
“As the economy has improved and gas prices have fallen, more Americans are driving more miles,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. “But that only explains part of the increase. Ninety-four percent of crashes can be tied back to a human choice or error, so we know we need to focus our efforts on improving human behavior while promoting vehicle technology that not only protects people in crashes, but helps prevent crashes in the first place.”