The council, which was founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, also noted that costs up, with the six-month estimated bill for traffic deaths, injuries and property damage coming in at $152 billion — 24 percent higher than 2014.
“Follow the numbers: The trend we are seeing on our roadways is like a flashing red light — danger lies ahead,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, the NSC's president and CEO. “Be a defensive driver and make safe decisions behind the wheel. Your life really depends on it.”
While the high death and injury toll could be due to many factors, the organization cited an improving economy with lower gas prices and unemployment rates herald increases in vehicle miles traveled. Average gas prices are 30-percent lower than they were last year, and are projected to remain relatively stable heading into 2016. This generally means an increase in traffic as more people can afford to drive, and many travel longer distances and take vacations, the NSC said.
To help ensure safety, the Council recommends drivers:
- Make sure every passenger buckles up on every trip;
- Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation;
- Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue;
- Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free;
- Stay engaged in teens' driving habits — teens are three times as likely to crash as more experienced drivers; and
- Learn about your vehicle's safety systems and how to use them. The “My Car Does What” website can help drivers understand the ins and outs of features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning systems and backup cameras.
Supplemental traffic fatality estimates information can be found by clicking here. http://www.nsc.org/NewsDocuments/2015/6-month-fatality-increase.pdf
According to the NSC, it advances its mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where it can make the most impact — distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and safe communities.