U.S. traffic deaths jumped 10.4 percent in the first six months of 2016 to a “crisis” level, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Wednesday.
NHTSA said that road deaths in the first half totaled 17,775 and that the number was likely to be higher in the second half because of warmer weather and seasonal driving. The jump in the first half of the year followed a spike in 2015, when road deaths rose 7.2 percent to 35,092, the highest full-year increase since 1966. NHTSA Administrator, Mark Rosekind, called the rising death toll a “crisis” and urged swift action to reverse the rising trend after years of declines.
The U.S. Transportation Department said vehicle miles driven rose 3.3 percent in the first half of 2016. The fatality rate in the first half of the year rose to its highest since 2009, NHTSA said.
Last year, total U.S. traffic crashes rose by 4 percent to 6.3 million, while people injured rose 4.5 percent to 2.44 million.