The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday, Sept. 27, reported a 9 percent increase in motor vehicle traffic fatalities for the first half of 2012, the largest jump during the first six months of any previous year since data was first collected in 1975.
A statistical projection from January through June estimates 16,290 people died in vehicular crashes during the first half of the year, according to NHTSA. The previous highest increase during the same period was 6.4 percent in 1979.
“While it is too soon to speculate on the contributing factors or potential implications of any increase on our roadways, it should be noted that the historic downward trend in traffic fatalities in the past several years means any comparison will be to an unprecedented low baseline figure,” said Robert Strickland, NHTSA administrator.
NHTSA said fatalities during the first half of the year have declined by about 27 percent from the recent high in 2006 (20,500 fatalities) to the first half of 2011 (14,950 fatalities). Federal Highway Administration data showed vehicle miles traveled in the first six months of 2012 increased by 15.6 billion miles, a 1.1 percent increase from 2011.