NHTSA Reports Increase in Traffic Deaths For the First Time in 5 Years, Baffles Experts


U.S. traffic deaths increased by nine percent in the first six months of the year, to 16,290 people, the most since 2009, according to a preliminary report by the National Highway Safety Administration.

The latest findings interrupt a 5-year continuous downward trend, which resulted in what the administration called a “historic” 60-year low in 2011. The NHTSA report does not examine causes, and a full report of analyzed data could take more than a year.

“While it’s too soon to speculate on the contributing factors of any increase in deaths on our roadways, NHTSA is closely monitoring the data,” said administration spokesperson Lynda Tran.

Reuters reports that experts are baffled by this rise and until the data is examined, they can only speculate about the causes, which may include factors such as the weather, the economy or the use of prescription or synthetic drugs.

Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, a group that wants a ban on the use of cell phones and texting while driving, commented, “We may just be going back to the way it was before”.

Harsha’s association wants convicted drunk drivers’ vehicles to use an ignition device that will force the driver to blow into an attachment in order to start.

“We’d practically eliminate alcohol impaired driving if we could get all offenders to use an ignition interlock”, said Harsha. This measure has already been implemented in 17 states.

By Andrew Tsaousis

Story References: Huffingtonpost/Reuters


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Lupica George said... »October 04, 2012

My bet goes on costs which inevitably lead to people getting cut price servicing. Sometime this stuff really makes a difference at that crucial moment. If not the shady servicing then the shady parts. said... »October 04, 2012

Well those measures are quite hard to implement and that ignition device is the hardest one! Imagine the car manufacturers starting to put alcohol testing ignition devices.. it's just like the electric cars project, good ideas but they mainly remain ideas

Michael said... »October 05, 2012

Cars are structurally way more substantial plus having airbags all over the place. No doubt it's texting and phoning while driving that account for these stats. The research should bear this out and eventually we'll have stronger laws backed up by substantial fines to curb these behaviors. Even talking a hands free phone takes the driver out of the immediate circumstance (driving) and into another scenario of interaction with another human, and research has proven this out.

Thehaggis said... »October 06, 2012

Texting would be my guess. It's the only big change in the last 5 years that I can think of.

Doehrman Chamberlain said... »October 12, 2012

The Governors Highway Safety Association may have the right idea pushing for a stronger ban on cell phones, as distracted driving is an increasing cause of car accidents. While traffic deaths indeed declined for five years, the NHTSA reports that the number of crashes in which distraction was a factor has been increasing for the past five years. Whereas distraction was a factor in 10 percent of accidents in 2005, the agency said it was a factor in 18 percent in 2010. We would not be surprised if cell phone usage while driving and other distractions are determined to have been important factors in this latest fatality increase.

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