Motor Vehicle Fatalities Project Alarming Number
The estimated 35,200 individuals killed in motor vehicle fatalities on U.S. roads in 2015 is alarming to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and our State Highway Safety Office members. This represents the largest year-over-year percentage increase (7.7 percent) since national record-keeping began.
Although we are still well below the more than 40,000 people killed annually just a decade ago, each death on U.S. roadways is unacceptable, and, after many years of progress, this increase is troubling.
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The good news is that the solutions to reducing traffic deaths aren’t a mystery. They include strong laws coupled with highly-visible law enforcement and robust public education campaigns. By using these tactics, the nation saw a nearly 25 percent drop in the number of fatalities between 2005 and 2014, including a record low in 2011.
We are especially committed to keeping the most at-risk road users safe. While national data suggest an overall 7.7 percent increase in traffic 2015 fatalities, recent GHSA reports project even higher percentage increases for pedestrians and motorcyclists (10 percent each). As improving vehicle safety has increased the likelihood for passenger vehicle occupants to survive a crash, pedestrians and motorcyclists lack these same benefits and remain just as susceptible to serious injury or death in the event of a collision.
Working together with our federal and private sector partners, we are confident that we can find the right blend of enforcement, education and engineering solutions to turn the tide and once again move toward zero deaths on our nation’s roads. Safety Officials are cracking down on the click it or ticket campaign.
States Focus on Seatbelt Safety
Amazingly, while seat belt use is the single most effective way people can protect themselves in the event of motor vehicle crash, more than one in 10 Americans still fail to regularly buckle up. And adult belt use rates in the back seat are even worse – 10 to 15 percentage points lower than in the front.
To increase seat belt usage and save lives, states are working with local law enforcement and other key partners as part of the annual Click It or Ticket mobilization. States will employ creative messaging and social media to remind the public to Click It or Ticket.
This year, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is partnering with Uber to help increase belt use in the back seat. In select markets across the country, through media events, in-app notifications, and other creative means, Uber will be educating its riders about the importance of buckling up in back. Uber has already addressed this important issue.
“Millions of rides happen daily on Uber,” said Dorothy Chou, Uber’s Head of Public Policy for Safety, Privacy and Security. “Seats belts have revolutionized road safety and we’re thrilled to participate in the Click It or Ticket campaign to encourage drivers and riders to buckle up – every seat, every time.” GHSA’s recent Spotlight report on backseat seatbelts points to the need to boost rear seat belt use in for-hire vehicles. In 2013, nearly 900 unbuckled rear-seat passengers were killed; more than 400 of them would have likely survived had they worn their seat belt.
As more people turn to Uber or other for-hire transportation alternatives, it is even more important to get them accustomed to buckling up every time they get into a car, in the front seat or the back.