The National Safety Council reports that first-half 2016 traffic fatalities rose 9% from the same period last year and were 18% higher than in the same period in 2014. Some states were hit much harder than others. The increase over the two-year period includes a 43% gain in Florida and 31% in California, the first and third most populated states.
An estimated 19,100 people have been killed on U.S. roads since January – enough to fill 382 school buses – and 2.2 million were seriously injured. The total estimated cost of these deaths and injuries is $205 billion.
As for the number by state:
States that have been particularly hard hit since 2014, the start of the upward trend, are Florida (43% increase), Georgia (34%), Indiana (33%), California (31%), North Carolina (26%), Illinois (24%) and Kentucky (24%).
The National Safety Council’s premise about the increase may be hard to support entirely:
While many factors likely contributed to the fatality increase, a stronger economy and lower unemployment rates are at the core of the trend. Average gas prices for the first six months of this year were 16 percent lower than 2015 levels, helping to fuel a 3.3% increase in the number of miles driven.
There is evidence from other sources that distracted driving, particularly texting and speaking on phones, has made as significant a contribution to the number of accidents. As a matter of fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported:
Each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.
Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. Distracted driving can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash.
It is hard to rectify the problem without more information about its root cause. For the time being, there is no consensus.
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