Report: 2016 Vehicle Deaths Highest in 9 Years

Published on March 30, 2017 06:37 AM
Report: 2016 Vehicle Deaths Highest in 9 Years

More motorists and more distractions equal more danger and death on America’s roadways.

And safety advocates aren’t flinching from the reality.

"Our complacency is killing us. Americans believe there is nothing we can do to stop crashes from happening, but that isn't true," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, CEO and President of the National Safety Council. "The U.S. lags the rest of the developed world in addressing highway fatalities. We know what needs to be done; we just haven't done it."

More than 40,000 people died in car crashes in 2016, the most in almost a decade, according to the NSC’s preliminary findings. The group says crashes injured 4.6 million seriously enough to require medical attention and estimates crashes tallied roughly $432 billion in damages.

The council focuses on preventable deaths, and suggests a series of precautions and mandates to improve roadway safety:


  • Mandatory ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers, coupled with better education and outreach regarding the nature of impairment.

  • Extend laws that prohibit phone use while driving – including hands-free – to all drivers, not just teen. Upgrade enforcement from secondary to primary in states with existing bans

  • Upgrade seat belt laws. Extend restraint laws to every passenger in every seating position in all kinds of vehicles

  • Adopt a three tiered licensing system for all new drivers under 21 – not just those under 18.

  • Standardize and accelerate safety technologies with life-saving potential for fleet driving. Innovations like blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and adaptive headlights.

  • Pass or reinstate motorcycle helmet laws.

  • Adopt comprehensive programs for pedestrian safety.


What’s Causing Crashes?
According to an NSC survey:


  • 83% of drivers surveyed believe driving is a safety concern,

  • 64% say they are comfortable speeding.

  • 47% say they are comfortable driving while using a mobile device

  • 13% admit to operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.

  • 10% admit to driving after consuming too much alcohol.


--Source: Driver Safety Public Opinion Poll, National Safety Council