The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released fatal collision statistics for the year 2016. The data shows that the disturbing trend of increasing traffic fatalities is continuing in the United States after years of almost steady decline.
There were 37,461 people killed on U.S. roadways in 2016, an increase of 5.6% from 2015. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles travelled rose by 2.6%. Once again, increased fatalities occurred in almost every segment of the population, including occupants in passenger vehicles and large trucks, motorcycles riders, bicyclists and pedestrians.
While deaths related to distracted driving and drowsy driving decreased by 2.2% and 3.5% respectively, fatal collisions related to alcohol impairment, speed, and lack of restraint use increased.
Updated injury statistics are not yet available. Data from 2015 showed a 4.5% increase in collision injuries.
Canada has not released any new collision statistics since we last reported on this topic in July of this year. The most recent numbers from 2015 did not show the same marked upsurge in deaths and injuries as our southern neighbours. Here in Alberta, the most recent data showed dramatic decreases in traffic fatalities and injuries from 2014 to 2015 (10.6% and 4.5% respectively).
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On-Scene – Fall 2017
Our Fall issue of On-Scene has just been published! It’s been nearly 15 years since our first article about Event Data Recorders (EDRs or “black boxes). Much has changed since then, so we thought it was time for another feature article. If you want to learn more about the history and uses of EDRs, we encourage you to read our updated article.
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Transport Canada Contract Renewed
Collision Analysis’ Canadian office is honoured to have again been selected to conduct field investigations of motor vehicle collisions and safety-related defects in the Western Canada region for Transport Canada.
You can read more about our Transport Canada work here, including the types of collisions we will be investigating.
New Recommendations for Car Seats and Booster Seats
Kids are heading back to school after summer break, and this means many will be transported back and forth daily in passenger vehicles. This is a good time to remind parents and care givers of the importance of properly securing children for every trip, at every age.
Earlier this year, Alberta Health Services (AHS) updated its car seat and booster seat recommendations to help parents determine the safest way of transporting their children.
The new recommendations focus on keeping a child in each stage of car seat (rear-facing, forward-facing, booster) as long as possible, until they’ve outgrown the car seat manufacturer’s height or weight limit.
AHS made a significant change regarding rear-facing child seats. The previous recommendation was to keep children rear-facing until they were at least age one, weighed 10 kg (22 lb) and were walking. The new recommendation is that children remain in rear-facing seats until at least age two or until they reach the car seat’s height or weight limit.
Additional information about child car seat safety can be found on the Transport Canada website.
U.S. and Canada Collision Statistics
Statistics from the U.S. are showing a marked increase in traffic deaths. The most recent data indicates that fatalities increased from 32,744 in 2014 to 35,092 in 2015. This is a 7% increase and the largest in nearly 50 years. The increase occurred in almost all segments of the population, including pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and alcohol-impaired driving. The estimated number of injuries increased 4.5%.
When considering rates based on vehicle miles travelled, the U.S. crash fatality rate rose 3.7% in 2015 compared to 2014, which boasted the lowest fatality rate on record. The injury rate rose 1.3% in 2015.
Canada is not showing the same upswing in traffic crash fatalities and injuries. While there was a slight increase in fatalities (0.3%) in 2015, serious injuries were down 1.1%. And the 2015 fatality rate based on vehicle kilometres travelled was the lowest on record.
Factors such as increased belt usage, reduced impaired driving, and vehicle safety improvements have driven fatalities significantly down over the years despite increasing numbers of cars on the road and vehicle miles travelled. The recent spike in U.S. fatalities is a reminder that the task to reduce traffic deaths and injuries is ongoing.
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