According to a preliminary report from the National Safety Council, the number of traffic fatalities during 2012 increased by 5 percent over the previous year. This marks the first time since 2005 that traffic fatalities have been on the rise.
The National Safety Council estimates that during 2012 there were 3.9 million injuries and approximately 36,200 traffic fatalities. The cumulative cost from those injuries was estimated to surpass $276 billion when you include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages and lost productivity; also up 5 percent from 2011.
A similar report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seems to confirm the National Safety Council’s findings, stating the number of traffic fatalities had jumped by 9% during the first half of 2012.
Although the NHTSA looks only at data from public roads, the NSC’s findings also take into account accidents that occur on private property. Neither the NSC or NHTSA has officially published their stats for 2012 nor have they offered any hypotheses for the increase in traffic fatalities. However, the official 2011 reports from both agencies suggested multiple factors that might be influencing the recent upswing.
- More people are on the road, which typically means more accidents
- Distracted driving continues to be a serious problem
- Motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians all saw a greater number of deaths
The official reports should be released in the coming months and both the NSC and NHTSA will likely have more to say about what factors account for the recent spike in traffic fatalities.