U.S. Traffic Deaths Climb 5.6 Percent, 10K+ Killed Due To Not Using Seat Belts

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has revealed the number of traffic deaths last year increased 5.6 percent to 37,461 fatalities.

Despite a decrease in the number of fatalities related to drowsy and distracted driving, the report said there was an increase in deaths related to “reckless behaviors” such as speeding, not wearing seat belts, and drinking and driving.

In particular, there was a 2.2 percent decrease in the number of distraction-related deaths but it still resulted in 3,450 fatalities last year. The number of deaths related to drowsy driving also decreased 3.5 percent to 803 fatalities.

The other numbers aren’t nearly as good as there 10,497 fatalities related to drunk driving and 10,111 fatalities related to speeding. These represent increases of 1.7 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.

Perhaps the saddest statistic is the fact that there were 10,428 fatalities last year due to people not using a seat belt. In many cases, these deaths could have easily been prevented.

Last year also saw significant increases in motorcyclist (5,286 fatalities) and pedestrian deaths (5,987 fatalities). The latter figure is an increase of nine percent and is the highest number recorded since 1990.

The report goes on to note human choices are linked to 94 percent of serious crashes and the agency continues to support vehicle technologies that “may eventually help reduce or eliminate human error and the mistakes that drivers make behind the wheel.”

Despite the sobering statistics, your chances of dying behind the wheel are relatively slim as there were only 1.18 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled last year.

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  • Ilbirs

    Inertia is the most democratic law, as it affects people of all colors, origins, political beliefs, no matter if poor or rich, powerful or disempowered. The seatbelt is one mode of preventing the effects of this law that exists no matter you believe or not.

    • SamuraiJack

      I don’t know how anyone could not wear a seat belt. If I don’t have it on I feel naked.

      I would also like to know how many of them were rear seat passengers.

      • Tostik

        Not too long ago I was going to drive my car from my front driveway to the back of my house. I put my seat belt on out of habit. I wasn’t even gonna drive off my property. I laughed at myself, but it’s a good habit, and I would have felt naked without it.

  • Jay

    I’m curious how many still would’ve died even they did have their seatbelts on.. or how many survived because they weren’t wearing them.. just saying

    • MattyDienhoff

      Depends on how severe the crash is, but your odds are far better with a restraint than without, unless you fancy becoming a projectile.

      I’d like to know what sort of accident you expect to be more survivable without a restraint than with one. Plunging into a lake perhaps?

      • Jay

        Getting hit from other vehicles, the seat belt can also lock you in and prevent you from escaping. Plenty of deaths come from people trapped in their burning cars because there was nothing to cut the seatbelt with.

        You should also consider the fact that most people become projectiles from speed related accidents. Had people been speeding less or dare I say become better drivers we would rarely need seat belts to begin with.


    And this is why I always buckle up. I mean, it takes no less than 5 seconds at the most.

    • S3XY

      Takes more than 5 if you’re fat!

      Putting a seat belt on is like breathing.

  • Braddo

    How stupid do you need to be to not wear a seatbelt???

  • matrem

    Darwin Award nominees all

  • Randy Terpstra

    Not sure about Americans, but good to see that this nice Thai family, are all belted up. 😉

    • gshemant

      They could be Americans too u know…

      • LeStori

        Looks like this might be a right hand drive car or there is no driver in the car or the picture reversed.

        So could be Thailand …

        List of some of the countries that drive on the correct (historical) side of the road.

        Caribbean Islands*
        Channel Islands
        Hong Kong
        Isle of Man
        New Zealand
        South Africa

        Way back before cars were even invented, almost everybody traveled on the left side of the road. It just made sense. Since most people are right-handed, swordsmen preferred to travel on the left in order to have their right arm nearer to a potential opponent and their sword and scabbard further from them. Since the scabbard was worn on the left, it also prevented two people from knocking swords accidentally and sparking a duel.

        • Jay

          Maybe some powerful people in America want the residents to die. Think about what goes into the food and drinks for example. The otc drugs available, weapons and etc, driving on the left side is just another way get some more deaths…

        • PB

          I once read that when the Americans standardized which side of the car the controls would be on in America, the decision was influenced by the number of Model T’s on the road.

      • Randy Terpstra

        This image (and related) are used by Chevrolet Thailand for child seat safety. The images are also included in this Thai auto site.


  • Auf Wiedersehen

    Ah the new technique of grooming a new hipster….he just needs a few stick on tats, a nose ring and some gauges….kids size of course.

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