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Why Are Some of the Latest NHTSA Findings So Discouraging?

Last month, our blog discussed how preliminary findings by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security revealed that the number of traffic-related deaths in the state stood at 965 in 2015, marking the third lowest annual total in over 50 years.

As encouraging and remarkable as these figures were, it appears as if the rest of the nation did not follow suit. Indeed, a recently released report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that the U.S. saw a considerable jump in traffic fatalities during the first nine months of 2015.

What did the NHTSA report determine regarding traffic deaths?

The NHTSA report estimates that over 26,000 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents during the first nine months of 2015, a 9.3 percent increase from the first nine months of 2014.

Indeed, this number becomes even more shocking when you consider that traffic-related deaths in the U.S. have consistently declined, falling by over 22 percent from 2000 to 2014.

What’s behind this dramatic increase in traffic-related deaths?

NHTSA officials have blamed driver behavior — everything from neglecting to wear seat belts to driving under the influence — for the dramatic spike in traffic-related deaths.

Is the agency planning to do anything to address this?

It’s already been announced that the NHTSA will convene a series of “safety summits” designed to help devise new solutions to longstanding traffic safety issues. Specifically, these summits will revolve around combating everything from impaired driving, drowsy driving and distracted driving to speeding, seat belt neglect and improper child seat use.

The first summit was held last week.

Are safety advocates satisfied with this?

Not all safety advocates are satisfied with these actions, with many arguing that it’s only one of several steps that need to be taken sooner than later.

In fact, some advocacy groups have criticized the NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation, its parent agency, for failing to work fast enough on other important traffic safety issues. By way of example, they point to the NHTSA’s December proposal calling for stronger rear-impact guards on tractor-trailers, a cause that they have been lobbying on behalf of for more than a decade.

If you’ve been seriously injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident caused by the reckless actions of another motorist, please don’t hesitate to consider speaking with an attorney to learn more about your options for justice.