WASHINGTON, D.C. — The number and rate of deaths on the nation’s roads increased in 2016, according to recently released federal data.
The statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), collected from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, show that there were 37,461 traffic fatalities in calendar year 2016, up 5.6% from the 2015 total of 35,485.
The traffic fatality rate also increased, according to NHTSA. The number of vehicle miles traveled on U.S. roads in 2016 was up 2.2%, and the fatality rate was 1.18 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled — a 2.6% increase from the 2015 rate of 1.15.
NHTSA reported that distracted driving and drowsy driving fatalities declined, while deaths related to other “reckless behaviors” — including speeding, alcohol impairment, and not wearing seat belts — continued to increase.
Also included in NHTSA’s 2016 data are school bus fatalities. Eight occupants age 18 or younger were killed in crashes in school buses or special-use school buses in 2016, up from five in 2015 and three in 2014.
The NHTSA report doesn’t specify the locations of those school bus occupant fatalities, but, as previously reported, six students were killed in the November 2016 school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Meanwhile, according to the NHTSA data, five pedestrians age 18 or younger were fatally struck by school buses in 2016. The report does not indicate how many students were fatally struck by vehicles passing school buses in 2016.