The upward trend began in late 2014 and shows no signs of decreasing. Last winter, the National Safety Council issued its largest year-over-year percentage increase in 50 years, when it estimated fatalities had jumped 8% in 2015 compared to 2014. The continued rise in fatalities is prompting the Council to issue its highest fatality estimate for the Labor Day holiday period since 2008. NSC estimates 438 people will be killed during the three-day holiday weekend.[ii]
States that have been particularly hard hit since 2014, the start of the upward trend, are Florida (43% increase), Georgia (34%), Indiana (33%), California (31%), North Carolina (26%), Illinois (24%) and Kentucky (24%).
“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.”
While many factors likely contributed to the fatality increase, a stronger economy and lower unemployment rates are at the core of the trend. Average gas prices for the first six months of this year were 16 percent lower than 2015 levels, helping to fuel a 3.3% increase in the number of miles driven.
To help ensure safety, the National Safety Council recommends drivers:
Motor vehicle fatality estimates are subject to slight increases or decreases as data mature. NSC has issued traffic fatality estimates since 1921.
[i] The National Safety Council defines “serious injuries” as those requiring medical attention