Statistics show a national spike in traffic fatalities in 2015
In 2015 the US suffered 35,092 fatalities in automobile traffic accidents. This was a huge jump, 2,348 to be exact, from 2014. This represents a 7.2% increase, the largest jump in almost 50 years.
In vehicle miles traveled (VMT), the fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled reached 1.12, the highest it has been since 2008.
2.44 million people were injured in traffic accidents in 2015, which represents an increase of 4.5 percent over 2014 (2.34 million injuries) according to the NHTSA’s National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) General Estimates System (GES).
4,067 fatalities occurred in wrecks involving large trucks, 4.1 percent more fatalities than in 2014 the highest since 2008.
Some good news: in 2015 the number of traffic fatalities in Texas dropped. Although it was a small difference, from 3,536 to 3,516, hopefully we see this trend continue.
Of those 4,067 fatalities involving large trucks nationwide, only 667 (16.4%) were occupants of the large truck. 10.1% were not occupants of any vehicle, and 73.5% were occupants of a different vehicle. Obviously given the fact that large trucks, especially 18-wheelers, dwarf most other vehicles on the road, it’s easy to see why the fatalities skew so heavily towards the non-truck vehicles.
Other correlations indicated by the review:
Average monthly temperature has a strong positive correlation with the number of traffic fatalities. Warmer weather tends to also mean higher fatalities, as people are more likely to drive when it is warmer outside. Unemployment rates and gas prices have low negative correlations with fatalities, meaning that as unemployment and gas prices increase, the number of fatalities slightly decreases. It is obvious to think that as gas prices increase, people are less likely to drive due to the cost, especially for long distances. As unemployment increases, people don’t have a job to travel to every day, and are more likely to stay off the road.
Most states in the US average about 10 percent of their fatal car wrecks as involving commercial motor vehicles. In Texas that number was 17 percent in 2015 (601 out of 3,531 total fatalities from wrecks). Experts see several possible reasons for this. The fact that Texas is situated in the middle of the country going east-west means that it is a hub for commercial activity. Additionally, the regional fracking/oil boom and the proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and its port cities mean that huge amounts of oil are transported through the area on trucks.