USDOT Releases Fatal Traffic Crash Statistics for 2016
The United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released crash statistics regarding fatal accidents in the U.S. in 2016. The research collected data from all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia. Furthermore, the study included information on several different categories of car accidents, and also provided statistics on general transportation trends in the U.S.
WHAT THE RESULTS SHOWED
According to the final results, 37,461 people died from fatal road accidents in 2016. This is an increase of 5.6% from 2015. Furthermore, the overall number of vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. for 2016 increased by 2.2%. The research also showed a fatality rate of 1.18 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles of travel (VMT). Thus, deaths from road accidents are on the rise. This could be because more people are on the road and are traveling a greater number of miles, providing more opportunity for accidents on U.S. streets and highways.
CAUSES OF FATAL ACCIDENTS
The research also provided data on the specific causes of fatal accidents. Interestingly, the NHTSA data showed that drowsy and distracted driving fatalities decreased. This could be because of the national attention given to drowsy and distracted driving, and the education provided on the dangers of texting and driving. Specifically, drowsy driving fatality rates decreased by 3.5% (for a total of 805 deaths in 2016). Distracted driving fatality rates also decreased by 2.2%, resulting in a total of 3,450 deaths in 2016.
In addition, the 2016 national crash statistics showed that:
- Drunk driving fatalities increased by 1.7% (for a total of 10,497 deaths)
- Fatalities while not wearing a seatbelt increased by 4.6% (for a total of 10,428)
- Fatality rates for speeding accidents increased by 4% (for a total of 10,111 deaths)
Furthermore, the NHTSA crash data provided statistics on the types of fatalities on U.S. roads. Bicyclist fatalities increased by 1.3% for a total of 840 deaths, the highest number since 1991. In addition, motorcyclist fatality rates increased by 5.1% for a total of 5,286 deaths in 2016. This is the highest number since 2008. Pedestrian fatality rates also rose by an astounding 9% for a total of 5,897 deaths in 2016. This is the highest number of deaths since 1990.
WHAT THIS COULD MEAN FOR YOU
These statistics raise important questions of safety on U.S. roadways. With the fatality rates on the rise, and pedestrian, bicycle, and motorcycle accident fatality rates so high, it is important to take steps to protect yourself while driving. While you can’t control the actions of others, you can control your own decisions. In fact, driver error is responsible for about 94% of all serious accidents. However, by practicing safe driving habits and being a responsible driver, you can increase your safety and the safety of those around you.
Specifically, you can practice defensive driving, and always wear a seatbelt. By keeping a safe distance between your car and the cars around you, maintaining a safe and legal speed, and avoiding distractions, you can improve your safety. Furthermore, never drink and drive. Even if you only have a little alcohol and feel fine, your judgement may be impaired. It is better to call an Uber or have a friend drive home than to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
Finally, as a pedestrian, always obey traffic signs and signals. Also, you should wear bright clothing and make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you. Just because you are pedestrian and have the right-of-way does not mean a driver will not hit you if you carelessly step into the street. By looking both ways and increasing your visibility, you can help avoid an accident.
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