WASHINGTON D.C. (Tucson News Now) - A newly released study shows traffic deaths around the country are up this year. The National Safety Council says road related deaths rose 14 percent nationally in the first six months of 2015, while injury accidents were up by about one-third.
While officials have not found an exact reason for this, they said a few factors could be contributing. Americans clocked 1.26 trillion miles in the first five months of this year, passing the previous 2007 record of 1.23 trillion miles. The council attribute a higher number of cars on the roads to more crashes annually.
However, the overall increase in car mileage through May of this year is about 3.4 percent, far less than the 14 percent jump in deaths, according to the NSC. Also, the estimated annual mileage death rate so far this year is 1.3 deaths per 100 million miles traveled, up from an earlier rate of 1.2.
Officials claim cell phone use could also play a part in these situations. They estimated in about one quarter of all accidents this spring, someone was distracted with a mobile device. Multiple states have also raised speed limits in recent years, which could be an additional component to recent findings.
On the other hand, deaths from drunk driving crashes have gone down by 20 percent. The organization said teen driving fatalities are also lower this year and seat belt use is up.