(NEW YORK) -- Many more people were killed on the nation’s roadways during the first six months of this year than the same period in 2011.
This 9 percent increase in traffic deaths from 14,950 to 16,290 represents the biggest jump since 1975 when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began keeping detailed stats on crashes.
Previously, the largest spike in road deaths for the first six months of any of the past 37 years was 6.4 percent in 1979. Meanwhile, the fatality rate of 1.12 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was the highest since 2009.
While the NHTSA wouldn’t speculate on factors contributing to the rise in traffic fatalities during the first half of the year, it appears that the unseasonably warm winter across much of the country might have been responsible for more drivers on the road.
Indeed, crashes from January through March were up 13.4 percent from the same period in 2011, compared to a 5.4 percent increase from April through June.
Nonetheless, overall traffic deaths have fallen dramatically since 2005 when they totaled 42,708. Last year, 32,310 died on the roadways.
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