The numbers are out, and unfortunately they present a tragic reality: deaths related to car accidents rose 14% the first half of 2015. From http://www.nsc.org/:
"Motor-vehicle deaths for January through June of 2015 totaled 18,630. This figure is up 14% from the corresponding 6-month period in 2014. The June figure for 2015 was up 12% from the 2013 figure. The 6-month total for 2014 was 16,400, a 1% decrease from 2013. The 2013 figure was 5% lower than 2012. The estimated annual population death rate is 12.5 deaths per 100,000 population, up 13% from the preliminary 2014 rate of 11.1. The estimated annual mileage death rate is 1.3 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, up 8% from the preliminary 2014 rate of 1.2. If the level of increase in fatalities observed during the first two quarters were to remain through the end of the year, total motor-vehicle fatalities in 2015 could possibly exceed 40,000 for the first time in eight years.
The increase in fatalities in 2015 likely reflects the effects of the low real gas prices that have averaged 30% below 2014 levels over the first two quarters of 2015, helping to produce a 3.4% increase in cumulative vehicle mileage through May. It should be noted that gas prices and the economy are strongly connected and it is difficult to isolate the impact of lower gas prices from the overall impact of an improving economy."
Some further reflection from the Chicago Tribune, November 25, 2015 (http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/ct-us-traffic-deaths-rise-20151125-story.html):
"NHTSA's numbers showed that 2014 was the safest year on record for people inside vehicles, with 21,022 deaths reported. Nearly half of those killed were not wearing seat belts, even though belt use rose to 87 percent, Rosekind said.
Bicyclist deaths declined 2.3 percent last year, but pedestrian fatalities rose 3.1 percent over 2013. Both appear to be rising slightly this year, Rosekind said.
Drunken driving continued to cause about one-third of all traffic deaths in 2014, with 9,967 people killed.
The safety agency will hold meetings in February and March in Sacramento, California; Boston; Denver; Atlanta and Dallas-Fort Worth to get input. After that, safety experts will meet in Washington, D.C., to come up with an action plan, Rosekind said.
The plan will focus on human errors or choices that cause crashes, Rosekind said, adding that there is excitement over new technologies that can prevent some of those mistakes."
As you travel over the holidays, we want to remind you to be safe, and drive defensively. If you're travelling out of the Indianapolis area, be alert: I-65 north to Chicago is regarded as one of the more unsafe roads in the country. That being said, we all know that any road, whether a freeway, US highway, or city street, can be dangerous. Stay alert…stay alive!