The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its final calculation of 2016 crash fatalities, finding 37,461 traffic deaths, compared with 35,485 in 2015. The only good news is that the 5.6 percent increase was less than 8.4 percent increase from 2014 to 2015.
This is the highest number of traffic fatalities since 2007. After that year, there was a dramatic decline in fatalities to a low of 32,367 in 2011. Though fatalities had remained roughly constant at about 42,000 per year from 1995 to 2007, they suddenly declined by 10 percent in 2008 and another 10 percent in 2009. Fatality rates — deaths per billion vehicle miles driven — had been declining for more than a century, but traffic experts could not explain why there was a large decline in total fatalities in that two-year period. Continue reading