Traffic fatalities increased for the first time in the U.S. since 2005. The National Safety Council reported that there was a five percent increase in traffic deaths from 2011, with roughly 36,200 car accident fatalities reported last year.
In addition to the increase in car accident fatalities, the NSC reported that there was also a five percent increase in car accident injuries that required medical care. Car accident fatalities had been declining the last six years so why did traffic fatalities increase last year?
The NSC said that they are very disappointed and concerned that car accident fatalities increased during the last year. Despite newer vehicles becoming safer for drivers and passengers, the NSC said that there are new challenges on the road that have contributed to the increase in fatal car accidents.
One of the main safety concerns for the NSC is the danger of distracted driving and teenagers. Car accidents remain the number one cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. Many safety organizations said that distracted driving behaviors have directly contributed to the increase in serious and fatal car accidents and that more awareness needs to be made about the dangers of distracted driving as well as drowsy driving and drunk driving.
Despite the government's efforts to reduce distracted driving accidents, safety organizations say that more work needs to be done, including passing laws that ban all drivers from using cellphones and making sure teen drivers are educated about other unsafe driving behaviors. They also said that all drivers need to be aware of their unsafe behaviors behind the wheel to try and prevent car accidents from increasing next year.
Source: OSHA Online, "Traffic Deaths Increase for First Time Since 2005: NSC," Feb. 20, 2013