NHTSA Data Shows Fatality Rates Declined, But Some Concerns Remain

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Even as traffic fatalities decline, there is still some cause for worry among safety advocates.  Distracted driving continues to be a problem, and fatal accident rates have not decreased equally among all methods of transport.  New figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration actually show a disconcerting uptick in the number of motorcycle, bicycle, and big rig-related fatalities.

The former surged by 2.1% in 2011 from 2010, the latest uptick in a disconcerting trend wherein all but one of the past 14 years has seen more motorcycle fatalities than the year prior.  Bike fatalities jumped by 8.7%, and large truck occupants saw their fatality rate increase by an astounding 20%.  This comes even as total fatality rates dipped by 1.9% to a 62-year low of 32,367.

The Governors Highway Safety Association deputy executive director believes that many of the bicycle fatalities can be attributed to the onslaught of people turning to bikes as a method of transportation.  Whether out of a desire to aid the environment or simply save on gas, more people on bikes means more fatalities, and suitable bike lanes and other bike infrastructure will be necessary to ensure safety in the future.

The same individual cites the improving economy as one possibility as to why large truck fatalities have increased.  More business begets more trucks on the roads, and just like with bikes, an increase in the number of vehicles could lead to more crashes.