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.