In the first half of 2013, there were 1,172 people who died throughout the state of Florida as a result of car accidents. In the first half of 2014, this number fell to 1,114 people killed in car crashes during the same period of time. Unfortunately, the number of people killed in car wrecks in the first half of 2015 was significantly higher than the number of people who died in either of the two prior years.
There were 1,441 people killed in motor vehicle accidents in Florida from January 1, 2015 until June 2015. This is 29 percent more people killed in 2015 compared with 2014 during the same period of time, and 23 percent more people killed in 2015 as compared with the number who died during the same period of time in 2013. This data came from National Safety Council's mid-year report, which warned there was likely to be a significantly higher rate of crash deaths nationwide in 2015 as compared with in the year before. NSC's mid-year projections estimated there would be 14 percent of more victims who lost their lives in deadly car accidents by the time 2015 came to a close.
NHTSA Fatality Data Shows Rise in Deaths
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has now released the preliminary estimates of crash fatalities for all of 2015. While the 14 percent increase in deaths NSC had warned about mid-year did not materialize, there were still significantly more people killed over the course of 2015 in car accidents nationwide as compared with the number of people who died in accidents on U.S. roads in 2014.
NHTSA data found an 8.1 percent rise in the total number of people who were killed during the course of 2015 in motor vehicle accident, compared with 2014. In 2014, 32,675 people had died in car crashes, including 21,022 who were actually occupants of vehicles at the time the accident happened (bikers, pedestrians, and motorcycles are among those who died in car crashes but who weren't vehicle occupants).
The fact more people died could be explained by the rise in people on the roads. People traveled more miles in 2015, with low gas prices and improving economic conditions making more driving possible for many. However, there was also a rise in fatality rates, which are calculated by comparing total crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. In 2014, the fatality rate reached a record low of 1.07 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. In 2015, the fatality rate increased 4.4 percent.
The rise in both the death count and fatality rate suggest not only more motorists on the road, but also more safety lapses leading those motorists to get into crashes at higher rates. Driver behavior is a major reason for crashes, with an estimated 10 percent of collisions caused by distracted drivers and close to 1/3 of all fatal crashes caused by drunk drivers. Motorists should make sure to stay sober, keep their focus on driving at all times, and avoid other unsafe behaviors like drowsy driving so they can try to bring death rates back down again in 2016.