The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released some troubling news. New data suggests that in 2015, the number of U.S. traffic fatalities had risen by nearly 8 percent. In 2015, NHTSA believes an estimated 35,200 individuals lost their lives last year due to traffic fatalities.
News of this increase is extremely alarming – between the years of 2000 and 2013, the U.S. saw a 31 percent decrease in traffic fatalities. However, other developed nations saw a much greater drop in traffic fatalities, with an average decrease of 56 percent.
What is to blame for the increase in traffic related fatalities?
- Speeding: The NHTSA said around 9,500 traffic fatalities a year are contributed to excessive speeding.
- Alcohol: Roughly 31 percent of the total traffic-related fatalities can be attributed to alcohol and drunk driving. That’s just over 10,000 fatalities year after year.
- Safety Belts: Although many U.S. drivers and passengers wear seat belts (around 87 percent), that is still a much lower percentage than many other countries. Another 9,500 deaths can be attributed to lack of proper restraints.
Out of all the countries researched, Belgium was the second-worst overall performer. Belgium had a fatality rate nearly two-thirds lower than the U.S. If the United States were to match Sweden, the safest country studied, we’d see nearly 24,000 fewer traffic-related fatalities per year.
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