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Latest car accident trend data released by the NHTSA

The American public generally understands that a devastating number of fatal and otherwise serious car accidents occurs annually in this country. It is too easy to list various statistics related to this tragic reality without really processing the fact that each car accident represents affected lives. That each fatality recorded represents a full, precious life.

When discussing the latest traffic fatality report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is important to keep in mind what these numbers truly represent. If legislators, federal regulators, safety experts and the general public view these numbers as the life and death events that they represent, everyone may approach traffic safety in newly dedicated ways.

According to the NHTSA’s latest report, more people perished as a result of motor vehicle accidents on American roads in 2012 than they did in 2011. This fatality spike particularly affected motorcyclists and cyclists. Cyclists perished at the highest rate recorded in six years, while biker fatality rates climbed for the third consecutive year.

In 2011, safety experts celebrated the lowest motor vehicle fatality rate since 1949. A drop in fatality rates is always a cause for celebration. However, the number of Americans who perished that year still numbered in the tens of thousands. In 2012, that rate jumped more than three percent, for a total of 33,561 fatalities.

The fact that the 2012 motor vehicle fatality rate spiked over the 2011 rate is cause for alarm. However, what is perhaps even more alarming is that over 30,000 Americans die every year in car accidents and more is not being done to reduce these numbers.

Source: New York Times, “N.H.T.S.A. Reports Increased Traffic Deaths,” Cheryl Jensen, Nov. 15, 2013

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