The National Safety Council (nfc.org) released preliminary estimates on traffic fatalities for 2016 and they show a 9% rise in deaths for the first half of 2016 and an 18% rise from 2 years ago. The total number of deaths was estimated at 19,100 just since January of this year.
The numbers in Arkansas were even worse than the national averages. 263 people lost their lives so far this year, an 11% increase over the same period of time last year and 24% higher than the same period in 2014. Texas had the highest number of fatalities in the nation and also saw an 11% increase, with 1,824 fatalities compared to 1,643 a year ago.
“Our complacency is killing us,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “One hundred deaths every day should outrage us. Americans should demand change to prioritize safety actions and protect ourselves from one of the leading causes of preventable death.”
Based on this figurs, the National Safety Council is estimating 438 people will die in motor vehicle collisions this Labor Day weekend, making it the deadliest in 8 years.
I have seen some news reports suggest the increase is a result of lower fuel costs and improving economy, however the number of miles driven has only increased 3.3% this year. Complacency is probably one factor, but I also suspect increased smart phone usuage plays a large role, especially texting and playing games on your phone. There have been a number of safety innovations that should be creating a downward trend in motor vehicle deaths but they are apparently more than offset by other factors endangering public safety.
Please be careful on the roads, especially this Labor Day weekend. Never drive drowsy, use safety belts and keep your speed down.