ITASCA, IL – As many as 40,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents last year, according to the National Safety Council, whose estimate is based on preliminary data from 2016. That’s a six percent increase over 2015 and a 14 percent increase over 2014; the most dramatic two-year rise since 1964.
The NSC’s preliminary estimate suggests that 2016 was the deadliest year on the nation’s roadways since 2007. An estimated 4.6 million roadway users were injured seriously enough to require medical attention in 2016 – at a cost to society of $4.6 billion.
The NSC also released results of a survey that said while 83 percent of drivers believe safety is a concern, 64 percent said they are comfortable with speeding, 47 percent said it’s OK to text (either manually or through voice controls), and 13 percent said they were fine with driving while impaired by marijuana.
Additionally, 10 percent said that driving after having too much alcohol was permissible.
“Our complacency is killing us. Americans believe there is nothing we can do to stop crashes from happening, but that isn’t true,” said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. “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.”
The NSC is calling for the immediate implementation of numerous life-saving measures, including the passage or reinstatement of helmet laws.
The NSC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths. The full press release is here.