The rise in deadly crashes comes at a time when investments in self-driving vehicles are rising and vehicles are being manufactured with advanced safety features.
Deadly car crashes are being attributed to: not wearing seat belts and speeding.
Motorcycle deaths are also on the rise. There were 5,286 people killed last year in motorcycle accidents. The figure is up 5.1% to reach the highest number of motorcycle accidents since 2008. Pedestrian deaths are also on the rise, hitting their highest level since 1990. There were 5,987 pedestrian fatalities in 2016, up 9%.
Car accidents led to 37,461 deaths in 2016, rising 5.6% year-over-year.
Deaths hit an all-time low in 2014 when just 32,744 people died in car accidents. The all-time low was hit after fatalities fell for 6-out-of-7 years between 2007 and 2014. Distracted driving was part of the reason for fatal car crashes rising in the past, but in 2016, less drivers engaged in distracted driving. The number of distracted driving accident deaths fell 2.2% last year.
The number of speeding-related deaths increased by 4% and 4.6% for passengers failing to wear seat belts.
The NHTSA works with local and state partners to try and determine the cause of accidents. The administration's close relationship with partners finds that 94% of serious crashes are the fault of human error.
Self-driving vehicles were pushed by the Obama Administration with the goal of eliminating roadway deaths in the next 30 years. The last time that there were more deaths than in 2016 was in 2007 when 41,259 people were killed in automobile accidents.
AAA states that the adoption of touchscreen systems in automobiles has contributed to the rise of automobile accidents. AAA suggests that these systems should not be allowed to be used when the automobile is in motion.
Traffic deaths per 100 million miles driven rose by 2.6%. Drunk driving contributed to 10,497 people losing their lives. There was a rise of 1.7% in drunk driving-related accidents. Cyclist deaths are also on the rise, rising 1.3% on the year.
Drowsy driving-related deaths have also fell by 3.5%.
Traffic deaths rose by 8.4% in 2015 marking the fastest rate in traffic death increases since 1964.
Automakers have been working to make driving safer. Vehicles have been equipped with airbags, backup mirrors, anti-rollover technology and blind spot detection.
The Senate passed a bill just days prior to the release of the crash data report. The Senate's bill passed through with a unanimous vote. The bill will push self-driving cars on the market deeming that the technology is safer than the alternative. The legislation is a major milestone according to automakers that are waiting for the government to pass legislation to allow self-driving vehicles to hit the roadway.
Self-driving technology, specifically from Tesla, have been involved in fatal accidents. The technology is still being tested, updated and advanced.
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