From the NSC:
Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council indicate motor vehicle deaths were 8% higher in 2015 than they were in 2014 – the largest year-over-year percent increase in 50 years. The Council estimates 38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads, and 4.4 million were seriously injured[i], meaning 2015 likely was the deadliest driving year since 2008.
Over the last year at the state level, the NSC estimates Oregon (27%), Georgia (22%), Florida (18%), and South Carolina (16%) all experienced increases in fatalities, while only 13 states showed improvement. Among them, New Mexico (-20%), Kansas (-7%) and New Jersey (-2%) experienced substantial decreases.
The estimate is subject to slight increases or decreases as data mature. NSC has issued annual traffic fatality estimates since 1921. Over the last three years, preliminary estimates have fallen within 1% of final counts.
While many factors likely contributed to the fatality increase, a stronger economy and lower unemployment rates are likely at the core of the trend. Average gas prices were 28% lower in 2015 than in 2014 and are projected to continue dropping this year,[ii] making driving more affordable for many Americans. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates a 3.5% increase in the number of miles driven in 2015 compared to 2014.
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