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NHTSA Reports Increased Roadway Deaths in 2015

Policeman at road accident scene

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities on American roadways have been slowly dropping over the past several years. However, last year was something of an anomaly: during the first nine months of 2015, the agency logged more than 26,000 traffic deaths – marking a 9.3 spike over the previous year.

NHTSA administrators say the roadway fatality figures are red flags that need to be taken seriously before more preventable crashes occur. “It’s time to drive behavioral changes in traffic safety and that means taking on new initiatives and addressing persistent issues like drunk driving and failure to wear seat belts,” said agency official Dr. Mark Rosekind in a recent press release.

The numbers were released just as the NHTSA launched a series of regional conferences across the country to evaluate and discuss traffic safety initiatives, programs and solutions. Their most recent summit was held in Atlanta, Georgia on February 23.

Research shows human factors cause most car accidents

Not surprisingly, decades of NHTSA data suggests that human factors are the reason behind the majority of motor vehicle and truck accidents in the States, accounting for more than 94 percent of all crashes.

The NHTSA summits are designed to stimulate dialogue regarding new strategies on driving behavioral changes in traffic safety. Some of the issues being addressed include continuing problems with

  • Distracted driving and cell phone use behind the wheel
  • Drowsy driving
  • Drugged and drunk driving

Highway safety professionals will also discuss better initiatives to protect those who are most vulnerable to car accident injuries, including pedestrians and cyclists, in addition to ways to promote the use of child seats and seat belts.

Furthermore, the NHTSA regional conferences will be examining innovations and methods to discourage unsafe driving behaviors, while looking at other proven behavior change tactics (from other non-traffic disciplines) that can be applied to national programs and countermeasures.

Traffic fatalities in California up 3 percent

The 2015 statistics were collected from all states and reflect regional differences for traffic-related deaths. California and Arizona had a modest 3 percent uptick in roadway fatalities compared to 2014, whereas states like Washington, Oregon and Montana reported a whopping 20 percent increase in deaths.

Though California had only a slight increase in traffic deaths compared to other regions, Los Angeles continues to make headlines as one of the most dangerous cities for motorists and pedestrians. Crosswalk accidents, pedestrian-knock downs and drunk driving accidents claim the lives of hundreds each year in the greater LA metropolitan area.

In circumstances where poor judgement, alcohol consumption, excessive fatigue or blatant negligence causes serious personal injury or death, victims and their loved ones may be entitled to compensation through the courts.

To discuss your case with a practiced Los Angeles personal injury attorney free of charge or obligation, contact The Salamati Law Firm at 888-259-4060. We work hard to maximize the value of your claim and obtain damages for medical bills, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and emotional suffering and other losses.


  1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. DOT announces steep increase in roadway deaths based on 2015 early estimates and convenes first regional summit to drive traffic safety behavior changes
  2. NHTSA, Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Nine Months (Jan–Sep) of 2015
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