Preliminary data released last month by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show a 7.7 percent increase in motor vehicle traffic deaths in 2015. An estimated 35,200 people died in 2015, up from the 32,675 reported deaths in 2014.
The NHTSA estimate shows 9 out of 10 regions within the United States had increased traffic deaths in 2015. The most significant increases came for pedestrians and bicyclists.
“As the economy has improved and (fuel) prices have fallen, more Americans are driving more miles,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. “But that only explains part of the increase. Ninety-four percent of crashes can be tied back to a human choice or error, so we know we need to focus our efforts on improving human behaviour while promoting vehicle technology that not only protects people in crashes, but helps prevent crashes in the first place.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation is also pressing forward with new guidance to promote the development of automated safety technologies which could greatly decrease the number of crashes.
NHTSA hosted two public meetings on automated safety technologies, in advance of guidance that will be issued later this summer. NHTSA and the Federal Highway Administration are also working closely on the implementation of the new safety performance measures, which require States and metropolitan areas to set targets for reducing deaths among motorised and non-motorised road users.
In March, the Department of Transportation announced a key safety agreement with carmakers requiring more than 99 percent of new vehicles to have automatic emergency braking standard by 2022.