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Highway deaths increase sharply in 2012

Posted On Tue, February 26, 2013

The estimated cost of highway fatalities in 2012 was more than a quarter-trillion dollars, a new report concludes.

According to the National Safety Council, there were more than 36,200 automotive accidents last year that resulted in a person's death. That's 5 percent more than the number of highway deaths there were in 2011. It also marks the first time in eight years that the vehicle fatality rate increased from the previous year.

Jane Froetscher, president and CEO of the NSC, says that this comes as bad news not only for motorists, but also state officials who have attempted to make driving safety a priority.

"NSC is greatly concerned with the upswing in traffic fatalities on our nation's roads," said Froetscher. "Although we have improved safety features in vehicles today, we also have new challenges, especially as it relates to teen and distracted driving, that need to be addressed on a national scale. We must work together now to reverse this latest trend to prevent needless tragedy."

The poll also showed the ultimate price of vehicle accident deaths for the U.S. economy. When all factors are taken into consideration - such as auto insurance rates, property damage, injuries, medical expenses, administrative costs, lost wages and diminished worker productivity, motor vehicle deaths cost more than $276 billion. That's up from 2011 by 5 percent.

The traffic incidents from last year are a stark contrast to what occurred in 2011. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in December that traffic deaths hit a 62-year low in 2011. In addition, fatalities from common causes of traffic accidents - such as driving under the influence of alcohol - also diminished, claiming approximately 9,880 lives from more than 10,100 in the previous year.

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