National Safety Council Estimates First National Increase in Traffic Deaths Since 2005


car crashes

ITASCA, IL--Feb. 19, 2013: The National Safety Council announced today its preliminary estimate that approximately 36,200 motor vehicle fatalities occurred in 2012. This marks a five percent upsurge from 2011 and is the first increase since 2004 to 2005. Crash injuries requiring medical attention also are estimated to have risen by five percent since 2011 to a total of 3.9 million.

Total miles driven across the nation have been on the rise since December of 2011, which may be a contributor to the increase in fatalities. NSC also speculates some of the increase in miles driven may be due to an improving economy and the mild 2012 winter across much of the country.

"NSC is greatly concerned with the upswing in traffic fatalities on our nation's roads," said Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "Although we have improved safety features in vehicles today, we also have new challenges, especially as it relates to teen and distracted driving, that need to be addressed on a national scale. We must work together now to reverse this latest trend to prevent needless tragedy."

In addition to devastating human loss, motor vehicle crashes present a significant national cost in lost wages and productivity, medical expenses, administrative expenses, employer costs and property damage. The estimated cost of motor vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage in 2012 was $276.6 billion, a five percent increase from 2011.

Research Detail

NSC Motor Vehicle Fatality Reporting System
Each month, motor vehicle fatality data is supplied to the National Safety Council by traffic authorities in 50 states and the District of Columbia. This data is used to make current year estimates based on the latest final count from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). NSC counts total motor vehicle-related fatalities that occur within a year of the crash, consistent with data compiled from death certificates by the NCHS, and includes those occurring on public roadways and private property. This differs from the methods used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA method counts traffic fatalities that occur within 30 days of a crash and only those occurring on public roadways.

About the National Safety Council
Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council (nsc.org) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact -- distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety and safety beyond the workplace.

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