US traffic deaths rise sharply

Government estimates show U.S. traffic deaths rose 8 percent for the first six months of this year, following a slight decrease in 2014.

Because of the increase, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it will hold a series of meetings nationwide to get ideas on how to counter human behavior issues that cause road deaths, such as speeding and distracted driving.  Government figures show that 32,675 people died in vehicle crashes last year, a 0.1 percent decrease from 2013.

NHTSA’s Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) figures for 2014 show 32,675 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2014, a 0.1-percent decrease from the previous year. The fatality rate fell to a record-low of 1.07 deaths per million vehicle miles traveled. But estimates for the first six months of 2015 show a troubling increase in the number of fatalities. The 2015 fatality estimate is up 8.1 percent from the same period last year. The 2015 fatality estimate is up 8.1 percent from the same period last year, and the fatality rate rose by 4.4 percent. NHTSA experts cautioned that while partial-year estimates are more volatile and subject to revision, the estimated increase represents a troubling departure from a general downward trend

“These numbers are a call to action,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Everyone with a responsibility for road safety – the federal, State and local governments, law enforcement, vehicle manufacturers, safety advocates and road users – needs to reassess our efforts to combat threats to safety. USDOT will redouble our efforts on safety and we expect our partners to do the same.”

NHTSA has launched a series of safety initiatives in recent months, including efforts to speed technology innovations that can improve safety and the agency's first comprehensive effort to fight drowsy driving.

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