Cheap Gas, More Driving Leading To More Fatal Crashes
The number of fatal traffic crashes has risen 14 percent over last year, and deaths on the road could top 40,000 — the first time since 2007 — the National Safety Council is reporting (via Autoblog).
The council points to lower gas prices and a better economy as reasons why people are driving more and crashing more.
The estimated economic impact of the crashes through the first six months of 2015 was $125 billion according to the council, up 24 percent from last year.
The data from NSC shows a surprisingly sharp increase over the last two years in fatal crashes, after a long decrease in overall (read: fatal and non-fatal) crashes.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of traffic deaths decreased sharply after 2007 and there were fewer fatal crashes in 2011 than any year since 1994, when that agency started to compile statistics.
(It should be noted that NSC and NHTSA count deaths differently. NSC includes traffic and nontraffic accidents and deaths or injuries that occur within a year. NHTSA counts injuries and deaths within traffic accidents after 30 days.)
According to the Federal Highway Administration, Americans may drive more miles this year than in previous years. American drivers are on pace to drive 3.06 trillion miles in 2015, topping the previous record of 3.03 trillion miles in 2008.
Highly populated states such as California, Florida and Texas had the highest number of traffic deaths in 2015, according to the NSC.
Oregon had the largest increase in traffic fatalities from data retrieved at the same time last year, with a 59-percent increase in deaths over the first six months of 2015. South Dakota (34 percent), Delaware (28 percent) and Washington D.C. (23 percent) had the sharpest drops.