An estimated 16,290 people died in traffic accidents in the first half of 2012, a 9 percent increase from the same period a year ago, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The increase is the largest in any first half since the NHTSA began compiling accident data in 1975, the agency said in a report.
Accident fatalities jumped 13.5 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2012, the Department of Transportation agency said, and rose 5.3 percent in the second quarter, according to preliminary estimates. The data seem to indicate a reversal of trends toward lower accident fatalities in recent years, though the estimated number of deaths is still 20 percent below the fatalities reported for the first six months of 2006, the most recent high point for road fatalities, the NHTSA said.
The agency did not release detailed data on the types of vehicles involved in accidents, such as cars or trucks. “It is too soon to speculate on the contributing factors or potential implications of any increase in deaths on our roadways,” the NHTSA said, noting that early estimates for 2011 show accident fatalities at a 60-year low last year. “Any comparison will be to an unprecedented low baseline figure.”