NHTSA: Traffic-related deaths increased in 2012

Washington – Traffic-related deaths increased 3.3 percent in 2012 from 2011 – the first annual increase since 2005 – according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Traffic-related fatalities totaled 33,561 in 2012. Among other findings:

  • Fatalities increased among pedestrians involved in a traffic crash by 6.4 percent and among motorcycle riders by 7.1 percent – two categories with increases for the third consecutive year.
  • People killed in distraction-related crashes decreased slightly to 3,328 in 2012 from 3,360 in 2011, while injuries from distraction-affected crashes increased 9 percent to an estimated 421,000.
  • Alcohol-related impaired driving crashes accounted for nearly one-third of all crash fatalities in 2012, with these fatalities increasing 4.6 percent from the previous year.

Researchers partially attribute the 2012 increase to higher-than-usual numbers of pedestrians and motorcycles on the roads during the unusually warm weather in the first quarter of 2012, during which fatalities were 72 percent higher compared to the same quarter in 2011.

According to a NHTSA press release, researchers are developing new methods to track and analyze data on distraction-related crashes so they can better detect trends that lead to these crashes.