U.S. on Pace for Deadliest Driving Year Since 2007
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U.S. on Pace for Deadliest Driving Year Since 2007, Says National Safety Council

Non-profit organization states one reason for increase in traffic deaths is an improving economy with lower gas prices and unemployment rates, which has led to an increase in vehicle miles traveled.

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The National Safety Council estimates traffic deaths are 14 percent higher through the first six months of 2015 than they were during the same period in 2014, and serious injuries are 30 percent higher.

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From January to June, nearly 19,000 people died in traffic crashes across the U.S., and more than 2.2 million were seriously injured, putting the country on pace for its deadliest driving year since 2007.

Costs are also up. The six-month estimated bill for traffic deaths, injuries and property damage is $152 billion – 24 percent higher than 2014.

“Follow the numbers: the trend we are seeing on our roadways is like a flashing red light – danger lies ahead,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Be a defensive driver and make safe decisions behind the wheel. Your life really depends on it.”

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While the high death and injury toll could be due to many factors, an improving economy with lower gas prices and unemployment rates herald increases in vehicle miles traveled. Average gas prices are 30 percent lower than they were in 2014 and are projected to remain relatively stable heading into 2016. This generally means an increase in traffic; more people can afford to drive, and many travel longer distances and take vacations.

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