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Traffic Deaths Jump 5.3 Percent, Ending Six-Year Decline

Highway deaths in the U.S. rose to 34,080 last year, a 5.3% increase that ended a six-year trend of decreases, according to a preliminary report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration...
May 7, 2013

Highway deaths in the U.S. rose to 34,080 last year, a 5.3% increase that ended a six-year trend of decreases, according to a preliminary report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The fatality rate increased to 1.16 people per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, up from 1.1 in 2011, the report said. The report, which is preliminary until final figures are released later this year, gave no reason for the increase. The Governors Highway Safety Association said in a report last month that motorcyclist deaths increased about 9 percent last year to more than 5,000, which could have helped spur the total increase.

Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center published in the June 2013 issue of Consumer Reports found that laws that ban the use of handheld cellphones or texting while driving in many states are effective. The December 2012 survey of 1,003 people found that 71 percent of respondents had stopped or cut back on texting and/or talking on a handheld phone or using a smartphone while driving in the previous year. Over 50 percent of them said they were influenced to change their behavior because of state laws, up from 44 percent in a survey conducted in 2011. The survey also found that about 25 percent of drivers were unsure of their own state’s laws.

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