Be careful out there everyone.
Americans love to drive, especially on highways. The proof comes from the Federal Highway Administration, which has just released some interesting data, and first reported on by The Detroit Bureau. In 2015, Americans drove a total of 3.148 trillion miles, a new record. At the same time, however, preliminary data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Revealed Administration (NHTSA) has revealed an increase in highway deaths. In 2014, there was a total of 32,000 highway fatalities, a 40% decrease since the 1970s when it peaked.
But the NHTSA claims that in the first nine months of 2015, the death toll rose an alarming 8%. The exact cause is still unclear, despite the fact that new cars are safer than ever. But a few other factors need to be taken into account here. For starters, car sales increased last year by 5.7% over 2014. Thank cheap gas prices and credit, and a recovering economy. As such, there are more cars on the road today, with the number of licensed drivers at the beginning of the decade at around 210 million. Back in 1988 that number was 163 million. The bottom line is this: the more cars on the road leads to more miles driven, and researchers believe those two factors are contributing to increased road injuries and fatalities.