By Chris McCahill, State Smart Transportation Imitative
Traffic deaths shot up for the second straight year in 2016, according to recent estimates from the National Safety Council (NSC). Total fatalities are estimated to have surpassed 40,000 for the first time since 2007, marking a six percent increase over 2015 and a 14 percent increase over 2014.
SSTI anticipated this alarming trend last year, pointing to the clearest cause: an uptick in driving. Over the last two years, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased 6.4 percent, following a decade of historically low levels. As we noted last year, the strengthening economy has motivated people to drive more, but it also exacerbates the associated risk.