Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Highway deaths rose 5.6% last year, first rise since 2006; rural roads most dangerous

Highway traffic fatalities rose last year for the first time since 2006, increasing 5.6 percent over 2011 to more than 34,000 deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reports Daniel C. Vock for Stateline. Almost half the deaths occurred in the first three months of 2012. The report offered no explanation for the increase. A high percentage of the deaths occurred on rural roads, and in many cases, passengers were not wearing seat belts.

In 2006 there were 42,708 highway deaths, according to the report. Numbers dropped each of the next five years, falling to 32,367 in 2011. New England had the highest increase last year, at 15 percent. NHTSA's southwest region (Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi) increased by 10 percent, and California and Arizona rose 9 percent. State-by-state analysis was not available.

We have reported that drivers are more likely to die on a rural road than other roads.

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