NHTSA releases preliminary Traffic Safety Facts for 2016

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released its annual Traffic Safety Facts. As predicted, the number of crashes and fatalities increased in 2016. Numbers for 2016 are not final, but statistics for previous years are not likely to change.

Large trucks stats
The number of vehicle occupants killed in large truck-involved crashes increased by 5 percent in 2016 to 4,317 people killed. Truck occupant deaths increased by nearly 9 percent to 722, and occupant-of-the-other-vehicle fatalities went up nearly 4 percent to 3,127. Large trucks accounted for only 8 percent of all fatal crashes, unchanged from 2015.

Nearly three-quarters of fatal crashes involved a collision with a motor vehicle in transit. More than 40 percent of the initial point of impact of all crashes occurred in the front, followed by nearly 17 percent at the rear. Less than 13 percent of crashes involved either side of the truck. These numbers were almost identical in 2015.

Only about 14 percent of large truck fatal crashes involved a rollover occurrence in 2016. Rollover fatalities were slightly higher for single-unit trucks, at 15.6 percent, compared with combination trucks at 13.3 percent. Again, stats for 2015 were similar.

Crashes that involved a jackknifed truck accounted for only 6.4 percent of large truck fatal crashes. Of trucks with only one trailer, 6.3 percent involved a jackknife occurrence, compared with nearly 10 percent of fatal truck crashes with two or more trailers. These numbers are slightly down as a percentage from 2015.

All motor vehicles
In total, 37,461 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2016, up nearly 6 percent from 2015. In 2015, traffic fatalities were up more than 8 percent from 2014, and in 2014 fatal crash victims were down less than 1 percent. Passenger cars and light trucks accounted for more than three-quarters of all fatal crashes.

Since 2011, vehicles miles traveled has steadily increased. Approximately, 3.174 trillion vehicle miles traveled were logged in 2016, an increase of nearly 3 percent from 2015 and up nearly 8 percent from 2011. Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled also went up in 2016 to 1.18 compared to 1.15 in 2015.

According to the report, nearly half a million lives have been saved with certain safety laws since 1975, including child restraints (11,274 lives saved), seat belts (359,241), frontal air bags (47,648), motorcycle helmets (43,848) and minimum drinking age laws (31,417). NHTSA estimates 384,156 additional lives would have been saved with 100 percent participation of seat belt use and 33,292 additional lives with motorcycle helmets.

Dangerous areas
St. Louis topped the list of most dangerous cities regarding fatality rate per 100,000 population at 19.91, followed closely by Baton Rouge at 19.32.

The top 10 problem areas:

  • St. Louis – 19.91
  • Baton Rouge – 19.32
  • Memphis – 18.38
  • Birmingham – 18.38
  • Mobile – 17.63
  • Detroit – 17.54
  • Fort Lauderdale – 17.34
  • Macon-Bibb County, Ga. – 17.04
  • Jacksonville – 16.92
  • Albuquerque – 16.81

The bottom 10 (four are in California):

  • Oxnard, Calif. – 0.0
  • Frisco, Texas – 0.61
  • Yonkers, N.Y. – 1.0
  • Cary, N.C. – 1.85
  • Irvine, Calif. – 2.25
  • Sioux Falls – 2.29
  • Moreno Valley, Calif. – 2.43
  • Fresno, Calif. – 2.49
  • Lincoln, Neb. – 2.5
  • Alexandria, Va. – 2.57

By state, the highest fatality rates per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (all but three in South/Southeast region):

  • South Carolina – 1.86
  • Kentucky – 1.69
  • Mississippi – 1.69
  • Alaska – 1.6
  • Louisiana – 1.54
  • Arkansas – 1.52
  • Montana – 1.51
  • Alabama – 1.5
  • Florida – 1.47
  • Idaho – 1.47

The lowest fatality rates per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (all but three in the Northeast):

  • Massachusetts – 0.63
  • Rhode Island – 0.64
  • Minnesota – 0.66
  • District of Columbia – 0.75
  • New Jersey – 0.78
  • New York – 0.83
  • Vermont – 0.84
  • Maryland – 0.85
  • Washington – 0.88
  • Utah – 0.89

Compared to 1975, fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled across all states are down significantly, ranging from a 52 percent decrease in Kentucky to as high as an 81 percent decrease in Vermont.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the worst year for traffic fatalities in terms of per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was in 1921 at a rate of 24.08. The best year was in 2014 at 1.08. In fact the 17 years with the lowest rate were mostly in the 21st century.

The most traffic fatalities by number of total deaths occurred in 1972, when 54,589 people were killed in traffic crashes. There were only 26 total traffic fatalities – in 1899.

 

 

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