U.S. traffic deaths exceeded 40,000 in 2018, the third year in a row that the number of people killed in traffic accidents surpassed the 40k mark.
Additionally, 4.5 million people were seriously injured last year in traffic crashes, a 1-percent rise over 2017’s figures, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
Although data shows that traffic deaths have dipped slightly since 2016 (40,327 deaths) and 2017 (40,231 deaths), the estimated 40,000 people killed in 2018 is still 14 percent higher than four years ago.
The spikes in traffic deaths were found in Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., all of which had an increase in traffic fatalities of at least 5.8 percent, according to the NSC.
Those gains were offset somewhat by substantial decreases in Kansas, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wyoming, which saw traffic fatalities fall by more than 9.4 percent.
“Forty thousand deaths is unacceptable. We cannot afford to tread water anymore,” said Nicholas Smith, interim president and CEO of NSC. “We know what works, but we need to demonstrate the commitment to implementing the solutions. Roadway deaths are preventable by doubling down on what works, embracing technology advancements and creating a culture of safer driving.”
The NSC says that bad driving is likely contributing to the stubbornly high number of people dying on the U.S. roads and highways every year. Although its estimates don’t reveal exact causes, the organization points to final data from 2017 showing spikes in the deaths of pedestrians, while distraction and drowsy driving together account for 10 percent of all deadly accidents.