An increase in miles travelled is being partially blamed for a significant increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents in the US.
New National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows a 7.7% increase in motor vehicle traffic deaths last year.
Interestingly, most of the increases were related to road users other than car drivers and occupants.
The data showing motorcyclist fatalities jumped 9%, pedestrian deaths were up 10% and pedal-cyclist fatalities climbed 13%.
Fatalities to drivers and passengers also went up (6% and 7%, respectively).
While fatalities in crashes involving large trucks also rose, but by a smaller amount, 4%.
NHTSA said an estimated 35,200 people died in 2015, up from the 32,675 reported fatalities in 2014.
While vehicle miles travelled (VMT) increased by about 107.2 billion miles, or by about 3.5% and NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind says this can in-part be blamed for the jump.
“As the economy has improved and gas prices have fallen, more Americans are driving more miles,”
“But that only explains part of the increase.
“94% percent of crashes can be tied back to a human choice or error, so we know we need to focus our efforts on improving human behaviour,”
“We also need to promote vehicle technology that not only protects people in crashes, but helps prevent crashes in the first place.”