Traffic Deaths Climb By Largest Increase In Decades

GRtak

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Traffic Deaths Climb By Largest Increase In Decades


Newly released government data paint a sobering picture of safety on the nation's roads and highways.

In 2015, the number of people who died in auto accidents reached 35,092, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a 7.2 percent increase over 2014. The last time there was such a large single-year increase was back in 1966 when Lyndon Johnson was president.

"Despite decades of safety improvements, far too many people are killed on our nation's roads every year," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a press release announcing the new data. "Solving this problem will take teamwork, so we're issuing a call to action and asking researchers, safety experts, data scientists, and the public to analyze the fatality data and help find ways to prevent these tragedies."

Foxx's "call to action" to researchers also was announced in a separate statement.

Officials say the number of traffic fatalities was actually 25 percent higher 10 years ago when 42,708 people died on the road. But the number of deaths had been declining because of increased use of seat belts, fewer drunk drivers, and vehicle improvements such as airbags and electronic stability control.

Officials say the increase in 2015 can be attributed to more people driving. Job growth and lower fuel prices factor in, and motorists are covering more ground. "In 2015, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased 3.5% over 2014, the largest increase in nearly 25 years," according to the NHTSA.

More people on the road means more fatalities among pedestrians and cyclists. Motorcycle deaths are up more than 8 percent.

Officials cite three main causes for traffic fatalities. Almost half of the deaths came when passengers were not wearing seat belts. About 30 percent of fatalities involved a drink driver or speeding. Distracted driving caused about 10 percent of auto deaths.
 
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GRtak

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Somebody else must have caught the mistake too because they updated the article.

Motorcycle deaths were up more than 8 percent.
 

RoamingGnome

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Officials say the increase in 2015 can be attributed to more people driving. Job growth and lower fuel prices factor in, and motorists are covering more ground.
All fine points I'm sure, but there's one aspect missing IMHO: the cars are too fucking good, too quiet, too isolated from the road, too "safe". All those computerized doodads make one feel like an Ironman. The mechanical limits become harder and harder to notice and when they finally get crossed, the result is often catastrophic because hardly anyone knows how to actually drive a car. There's nothing to do in them except drink coffee and fiddle with the radio; some not even practically but actually do drive themselves, so paying attention and being actively engaged while driving becomes rarer and rarer. Driving in this country is fcuking boring as hell and when you are bored you're likely to get into trouble. Matter not helped by the long, straight as an arrow highways and insistence on ridiculous speed limits which everyone still breaks by a considerable margin, except for obvious reasons the drive becomes quite erratic and often stressful.
 

prizrak

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All fine points I'm sure, but there's one aspect missing IMHO: the cars are too fucking good, too quiet, too isolated from the road, too "safe". All those computerized doodads make one feel like an Ironman. The mechanical limits become harder and harder to notice and when they finally get crossed, the result is often catastrophic because hardly anyone knows how to actually drive a car. There's nothing to do in them except drink coffee and fiddle with the radio; some not even practically but actually do drive themselves, so paying attention and being actively engaged while driving becomes rarer and rarer. Driving in this country is fcuking boring as hell and when you are bored you're likely to get into trouble. Matter not helped by the long, straight as an arrow highways and insistence on ridiculous speed limits which everyone still breaks by a considerable margin, except for obvious reasons the drive becomes quite erratic and often stressful.

Yep
 

93Flareside

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Today I had to go from Columbus to Cincinnati Ohio. At 65-70mph it's so boring. There are some sections that have good pavement with wide lanes and shoulders to the point that 90-100mph would be a much more acceptable speed. 70 feels so slow when out in the middle of nowhere. Maybe since the cars are so good that the archaic speed limits make driving super dull because it feels like you need less concentration?
 

Vipergts662

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Today I had to go from Columbus to Cincinnati Ohio. At 65-70mph it's so boring. There are some sections that have good pavement with wide lanes and shoulders to the point that 90-100mph would be a much more acceptable speed. 70 feels so slow when out in the middle of nowhere. Maybe since the cars are so good that the archaic speed limits make driving super dull because it feels like you need less concentration?

After driving from houston to fort wayne i realized the rest of the country needs to catch up with texas speed limits. Montana and north dakota are exempt due to them already having 75 mph limits and 70 on a large number of two lane roads.
 

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Somebody else must have caught the mistake too because they updated the article.

Not surprising, what with the increase in cars with white DRLs lately. I've noticed an increasing trend of people not seeing me from the front over the last few years. White car DRLs = motorcycles go invisible again for no actual gain in road safety in US operating conditions (per DOT).

- - - Updated - - -

After driving from houston to fort wayne i realized the rest of the country needs to catch up with texas speed limits. Montana and north dakota are exempt due to them already having 75 mph limits and 70 on a large number of two lane roads.

This as well. I've recently bought another Valentine One radar detector as I'm planning some road trips in the near future and there's no fucking way I'm going to run 55 on roads originally specced for 1950s American cars to run 100mph on. (I lent my last V1 to someone and it never came back.)
 

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It doesn't matter what the cause of this increase in traffic deaths is. It's going to be manipulated to convince the public that autonomous cars are for the betterment of human kind.

Stop the world, I want to get off.
 

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It doesn't matter what the cause of this increase in traffic deaths is. It's going to be manipulated to convince the public that autonomous cars are for the betterment of human kind.

Stop the world, I want to get off.

Was my first thought as wel.
 

chaos386

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All fine points I'm sure, but there's one aspect missing IMHO: the cars are too fucking good, too quiet, too isolated from the road, too "safe". All those computerized doodads make one feel like an Ironman. The mechanical limits become harder and harder to notice and when they finally get crossed, the result is often catastrophic because hardly anyone knows how to actually drive a car. There's nothing to do in them except drink coffee and fiddle with the radio; some not even practically but actually do drive themselves, so paying attention and being actively engaged while driving becomes rarer and rarer. Driving in this country is fcuking boring as hell and when you are bored you're likely to get into trouble. Matter not helped by the long, straight as an arrow highways and insistence on ridiculous speed limits which everyone still breaks by a considerable margin, except for obvious reasons the drive becomes quite erratic and often stressful.

This makes absolutely no sense for a change that happened over a single year.
 

JCE

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Only 10% because of distracted driving? Yea right, probably more like a third at least. Plus speed doesn't kill, wreckless driving kills. If I'm minding my own business @ 85 mph staying in my lane, not tailgating, paying attention ahead to conditions, and using proper turn indications to not cut people off I'm less dangerous than someone doing 65 mph weaving through traffic or tailgating.

I also mostly agree with the Roaming Gnome. I see it as a perfect storm and most years the average person gets lucky multiplied by thousands. I see near collisions all the damn time so it isn't unheard of to wonder how many of those last year were accidents instead of near misses? Just a thought.
 

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This makes absolutely no sense for a change that happened over a single year.
Of course it does. In my view it's a contributing factor, obviously not solely responsible for the entire increase in fatalities, but contributing no less. If we establish that more cars on the road equals more chance of an accident, then distracted driving will definitely have a magnifying effect.
 

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Our statistics are also well up on last year here in Australia. Which the govt. will now use as justification for raising speeding fines, more speed/red light cameras, and dropping already too low speed limits even further.
And the sheeple will mindlessly obey...
 

sonza68

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I'm sure the article touches on this, but the number of miles traveled is up due to cheaper gas prices. More miles equals more chances for people to have an accident.

Which is why the relevant statistic is deaths per 100k vehicle miles (really passenger miles would be better, but it would be a guess at best), but that isn't as alarming as absolute numbers.
 

chaos386

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Of course it does. In my view it's a contributing factor, obviously not solely responsible for the entire increase in fatalities, but contributing no less. If we establish that more cars on the road equals more chance of an accident, then distracted driving will definitely have a magnifying effect.

No, I mean why would it affect only 2015 rather than being a trend over a 10+ year period? I'm not aware of anything new that went into effect in 2015 that would affect the existing vehicle fleet.
 
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