While the number of distracted driving accidents went down in 2016, the total number of fatal crashes went up.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released USDOT accident data for 2016, showing a two-year spike in fatal traffic accidents that exceeds any swings the US has experienced in over 50 years.
NHTSA data revealed that at least 37,461 people died in car accidents on U.S. roads in 2016, a number which highlighted an increase of 5.6 percent when compared to 2015 figures. In addition, the rate of deaths per mile driven rose by 2.6 percent for the same period of time, with auto-pedestrian accidents accounting for a good portion of this increase.
At least 5,987 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents last year, which was a 9% rise over 2015’s numbers and the highest number of recorded pedestrian deaths since 1990.
Additionally, at least 5,286 motorcyclists also lost their lives in 2016; a 5.1% increase from 2015. There was also a 4.6% uptick in fatalities involving those not wearing seat belts, and there were more bicyclists killed in 2016 than any year since 1991.
The biggest culprit? Driver error.
In its report, NHTSA said that it continues to promote vehicle technology which holds the potential to reduce the number of crashes (thus saving thousands of lives each year), and that these technologies have the potential to address the most-difficult factor of driving; driver error.