The National Safety Council recently reported a multiyear spike in the number of car accidents on U.S. roads, and Massachusetts is no exception, tracking on pace with the national statistics over the long term. During the first half of 2015, vehicle accidents caused 149 deaths in the state. The number represents a more than 20% increase from 2013. Although the Boston Globe noted that the first-half 2015 figure represents a trend only 2% over the preceding year’s fatalities of 146 people, it was a significant climb from the 123 killed in the state during 2013.
Nationally, more than 18,000 people were killed in collisions or road-related accidents from January to June of 2015, an increase of nearly 15%. The National Safety Council statistics show that these are the highest vehicle-related fatalities in eight years—something its president, Deborah A.P. Hersman, likened to a flashing red light. She cautioned motorists to practice defensive driving in the months ahead. The Council also focused on teaching teenage drivers to practice defensive driving. This age group suffer accidents at a rate three times that of other age groups.
Serious injuries rose as well, showing an increase of nearly one-third year over year. Nearly 2.5 million suffered significant injuries. Vehicle-accident related costs rose nearly 25%, to $152 billion nationally.
The National Safety Council pinpointed several trends behind the dangerous trends. In a good economy, both increased employment and improved gas prices result in more people taking vacations and putting more mileage on their cars.
The National Safety Council was created by Congress to promote traffic safety.