Many a congratulation and back-patting were dealt after 2011 accident fatality statistics showed that deaths were at their lowest point since 1949, when roads were far less populated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration isn’t going to have a repeat performance this year, as preliminary 2012 statistics show that on-road fatalities were up a shocking 7.1 percent.
That translates to almost 2,000 more deaths. That number only includes the first nine months of the year and is the first time since 2006 when there’s been an uptick in fatalities. How did that happen?
The NHTSA doesn’t know yet. All of the data from 2012 hasn’t been crunched yet; we’re wondering if it has anything to do with the launch of the iPhone 4S.
Just kidding. Kinda.
In all honesty, distracted driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol have contributed significantly to traffic accidents, and by proxy fatalities. From 2010 and 2011 statistics, the NHTSA concluded that approximately 21 percent of fatalities occurred when BAC was 0.08 or higher. Motorcyclists and males driving have also shown a higher risk of dying in a motor vehicle accident than women and car drivers. We’re eager to see how these trends continue when all of the 2012 data is calculated.
The NHTSA notes that 2012 is showing the biggest increase in deaths since it started recording them in 1975 with its current methodology. Current estimates for 2012 fatalities are 25,580, with 1.16 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled.