Traffic Fatalities Up 12 Percent in First Three Months of 2012

NSC speculates some of the increase in miles driven may be due to an improving economy and the mild 2012 winter across much of the country.

Preliminary data collected by the National Safety Council indicates deaths from motor vehicle crashes during the first three months of 2012 are up 12 percent compared to the same three months last year. In 2012, an estimated 8,170 traffic deaths occurred from January through March, compared to 7,270 in 2011.

Definitive answers as to the reasons for this increase are not yet available. Total miles driven across the nation have been on the rise since December 2011, which may be a contributor to the increase in fatalities. NSC also speculates some of the increase in miles driven may be due to an improving economy and the mild 2012 winter across much of the country.

“The Council will be keeping a close eye on our monthly traffic fatality estimates to discern if this increase is just a temporary blip due to this year’s mild winter, or if other factors such as the improving economy are contributing to the increased fatalities on our nation’s roads,” said Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

In addition to human loss, motor vehicle crashes present a significant national cost in lost wages and productivity, medical expenses, administrative expenses, employer costs, and property damage. The preliminary cost of motor vehicle deaths, injuries, and property damage in 2011 was $255 billion.

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