NSC: Motor vehicle deaths in 2015 increased by largest percentage in 50 years

Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council indicate motor vehicle deaths were 8 percent higher in 2015 than in 2014 – the largest year-over-year percent increase in 50 years. NSC estimates 38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads – and 4.4 million were seriously injured – meaning 2015 likely was the deadliest driving year since 2008.

“These numbers are serving notice: Americans take their safety on the roadways for granted,” Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of NSC, said in a press release. “Driving a car is one of the riskiest activities any of us undertake in spite of decades of vehicle design improvements and traffic safety advancements. Engage your defensive driving skills and stay alert so we can reverse this trend in 2016.”

To help ensure safety, NSC recommends the following for drivers:

  • Make sure every passenger buckles up on every trip.
  • Designate an alcohol- and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation.
  • Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
  • Never use a cell phone behind the wheel – even hands-free.