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Traffic Fatalities Surge in 2016, Outpacing Travel Rates

smashed vehicles guard railTraffic deaths for the first nine months of 2016 surged eight percent compared to the same time period in 2015, according to preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

From January to September 2016, an estimated 27,875 people died as a result of motor vehicle accidents, compared to the 25,808 traffic fatalities that were reported during the same period of 2015.

The early figures are the highest numbers the NHTSA has reported since 2006.

This sharp increase comes as more Americans than ever are hitting the roads. Early results from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show a nearly three percent increase in the number of vehicle miles traveled during the first nine months of 2016. However, the rise in deaths significantly outpaces the increase in miles traveled.

Rising vehicle miles throughout 2016 have been attributed to improved economic factors that allowed more people to choose driving as a travel option, including lower gas prices.

There were also record setting holiday travel numbers in 2016, as an estimated 103 million people chose to travel 50 miles or more to their destination, with the overwhelming majority electing to drive.

In Pennsylvania, the state’s turnpike was occupied by an approximate 4.45 during the holiday travel season, designated by AAA Mid Atlantic as lasting from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2.

The NHTSA found important regional differences in fatality rates. Pennsylvania’s region, which is shared with New York, increased in fatalities by two percent. The region that includes Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Maine saw greatest increase in fatalities at 20 percent.

A more accurate assessment will be released by the NHTSA in March that details the administration’s complete data on the number of fatal car accidents in 2016.

The rising number of traffic fatalities shown in the NHTSA’s report illustrates a need to improve roadway safety and prevent dangerous behaviors, like impaired and distracted driving, from causing further accidents.

Victims of negligent drivers may have the option to pursue a claim that may lead to compensation for medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering. Schmidt Kramer’s Harrisburg car accident attorneys will review your claim through a free consultation and will not charge you any legal fees unless you are able to recover damages.

Call (717) 888-8888 to schedule a free, no obligation review of your claim.