Roadway Deaths Rise to Highest Level in 15 Years

By Sholnn Freeman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 23, 2006; Page A03

<img width="130" height="99" align="left" src="" alt="">The number of people killed on U.S. roadways in 2005 climbed to the highest level in 15 years, an increase tied to rising deaths among motorcyclists and pedestrians, the federal government reported yesterday.

A total of 43,443 people died in traffic accidents last year, up 1.4 percent from the previous year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. The agency said the motorcycle death toll rose for the eighth consecutive year. Last year, 4,553 motorcyclists died on the roadways, up 13 percent from the previous year. The agency said 4,881 pedestrians were killed last year, up 4.4 percent.

&quot;The traffic environment is getting more dangerous,&quot; said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. &quot;People are driving a lot faster. We've lost momentum in reducing alcohol-impaired driving and unprotected road users, like pedestrians, and to some extent motorcyclists are going to suffer from that.&quot;

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