Roadway deaths for 2015 are up 7.7 percent from 2014, according to preliminary data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Fatalities among occupants of vehicles that rolled over increased by 5 percent over the previous year.
An estimated 35,200 people died on roads last year, up from 32,675 in 2014, according to NHTSA.
Driver deaths were up 6 percent, while passenger deaths were up 7 percent, based on the data.
“As the economy has improved and gas prices have fallen, more Americans are driving more miles,” says Mark Rosekind, NHTSA administrator. “But that only explains part of the increase. Ninety-four percent of crashes can be tied back to human choice or error, so we know we need to focus our efforts on improving human behavior while promoting vehicle technology that not only protects people in crashes, but helps prevent crashes in the first place.”
The fourth quarter of 2015 was the fifth consecutive quarter showing year-over-year increases in fatalities, according to NHTSA.
Nine out of ten NHTSA regions showed increased road fatalities, according to the preliminary data.
NHTSA further estimated that motorcyclist deaths were up 9 percent; pedestrian deaths grew by 10 percent; and cyclist deaths were up 13 percent. Fatalities in crashes involving young drivers (15 to 20 years old) grew by 10 percent. Deaths involving large trucks were up by 4 percent.
These estimates are subject to change as NHTSA finalizes the data. The final statistics are due out later this year.
To read NHTSA’s report, click here.