U.S. Highway Fatalities Rose In 2012 On Increased Motorcycle, Pedestrian Deaths

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff
u s highway fatalities rose in 2012 on increased motorcycle pedestrian deaths

According to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), highway deaths in the United States increased in 2012 by more than 1,000 fatalities compared to 2011. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s getting less safe to drive since the majority of the 33,561 people killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2012 were motorcyclists and pedestrians. Pedestrian fatalities rose for the third year in a row and a majority of those deaths involved jaywalking at night. Many pedestrian deaths also involved alcohol. Even with the increase in 2012, highway fatalities over the past five years continue to be at a historic low.

“Highway deaths claim more than 30,000 lives each year, and while we’ve made substantial progress over the past 50 years, it’s clear that we have much more work to do,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Motorcyclist fatalities also increased for the third straight year. States without mandatory helmet laws had ten times as many rider fatalities as those states that require motorcyclists to wear protective headgear. Bicycling fatalities were at the highest they’ve been in six years.

Alcohol related fatalities rose to 10,322 in 2012, compared to 9,865 in the previous year. The majority of those fatalities involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration nearly double the legal limit.

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  • Ja-gti Ja-gti on Nov 18, 2013

    Huh. I thought the blunt, three-foot high front ends mandated by pedestrian impact laws would have caused a decrease in pedestrian fatalities.(sarcasm) The ugly cow-catcher prows required by these laws are making cars homogenous-looking and ill-proportioned. And yet, drunks walking in the road continue to be killed by four thousand pound objects traveling at thirty miles per hour. Did I miss the repeal of F=m x a, or do bureaucrats think their decrees have more power than the laws of physics?

    • Dubbed Dubbed on Nov 18, 2013

      You need to look at European pedestrian death statistics since those are the laws in Europe not America. We wouldn't give a rats a#$ about pedestrians over here. They should watch were their going.

  • Sigivald Sigivald on Nov 18, 2013

    I suspect a good amount of that dip there is "people driving less because of the economy". I'd love a graph of deaths-per-mile-driven, to correct for that.

    • See 1 previous
    • Pch101 Pch101 on Nov 18, 2013

      The fatality rate increased from 1.10 to 1.14 per 100 million miles. There was no dip. Fatality rates increased disproportionately in all categories, but passenger vehicle fatality rates increased at lower rates than did the other categories (large trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, bicyclists.) http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811856.pdf More data is needed to explain the increase. It may just be a fluke.

  • Pch101 Pch101 on Nov 18, 2013

    "the majority of the 33,561 people killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2012 were motorcyclists and pedestrians." That isn't accurate. NHTSA is reporting that the most of the increase from 2011 to 2012 is attributable to motorcycles and pedestrians. But about two-thirds of the fatalities were in passenger vehicles.

  • Edgett Edgett on Nov 18, 2013

    Thanks Pch101 - the way it was written made it sound like a huge increase in motorcycle and pedestrian deaths. As well, the move from 1.10 to 1.14 does not constitute a trend; the long term trend is that safety improvements to cars have significantly improved highway fatalities. Presumably greater consciousness around driving while impaired has had an enormous effect. While everyone likes to point to the one guy who was a 0.21 and killed three people, and who might have been stopped with tougher laws, these incidences are as statistically relevant as the lone gunman who walks into a mall and takes out three or four people because he went off. Shit happens and draconian sentences do not prevent it.