Damaged car dashboard

You typically want to end the year on a positive note. But, when you’re talking about annual traffic fatality statistics, 2016 shows the largest rise since 1996 in motor vehicle related deaths going into the New Year. And, that’s not a positive note.


Traffic Deaths Rise 10.4 Percent


In fact, 2016 could easily surpass 2015 in the number of road deaths, which doesn’t bode well for next year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s preliminary data for the first six months of 2016, deaths on U.S. roads rose by 10.4 percent over the same period in 2015.


Even more alarming is that the data has not been finalized. Yet, current statistics show that an estimated 17,775 people have already died in motor vehicle accidents in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, when there were 16,100 reported fatalities.


Deadliest Six Months Since 2008


This dire news confirms that the first six months of the year were effectively the deadliest on record since 2008, when 17,894 people were reported killed in traffic accidents across the nation. And, while auto insurance companies and researchers are concerned by the trend, assigning blame for the increase in fatalities falls into two possible categories.


Assigning Blame for Increase in Fatalities


Some experts believe the rise in deaths is due to drivers spending more time behind the wheel, which is up 3.3 percent from 2015. In the first half of 2016, American drivers put a total of 1.58 trillion miles on their odometers. And, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicles miles driven also showed an increase of 1.12 fatalities, up from the 1.05 fatalities per 100 miles recorded in 2015.


Meanwhile, others blame the rise in highway deaths on cellphone use and the obvious risks associated with it. In recent years, distracted driving has contributed to a significant number of injuries and deaths to motorists. This includes texting or conversing on your phone when driving.


Avoid Becoming a Statistic Yourself


To avoid becoming a statistic yourself you may want to follow the following safety tips:


  • Wear your seat belt and shoulder belts at all times.
  • Obey all traffic laws.
  • Maintain a safe speed.
  • Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.
  • Slow down on unfamiliar roads.
  • Use your turn signals whenever making a turn or changing lanes.
  • Don’t use your cellphone to text or make a call when driving.
  • Avoid all other potential distractions while driving, such as eating, reading or turning your attention to children or pets in the back seat.


Because of the rate of increase in traffic fatalities, a number of agencies, including the NHTSA, Federal Highway Administration, and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are pooling efforts with the National Safety Council to form the Road to Zero Coalition with the hope of not only reducing the number of traffic fatalities but to end them altogether over the next 30 years.


While their goal may seem out of reach at the moment – if they’re willing to do their part, shouldn’t you?


And, if you’re looking to save money on Alabama car insurance or Louisiana car insurance, you may want to get a free auto insurance quote online. After all, car insurance shouldn’t be out of reach – even if you need an SR-22 for your high-risk driver insurance.