According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 35,092 people killed in car accidents in the United States in 2015. This was a seven percent increase from 2014, and the biggest increase in almost 50 years. There was also an increase in injuries, amounting to 2.44 million people injured in 2015.
With the exception of that year, traffic fatalities have generally decreased over the past decade. Education has improved seatbelt use and resulted in a decrease in impaired driving. However, this year marked an increase in fatalities and injuries across almost all segments of the population. The increase could be a result of an increased use of handheld devices. Indeed, the use of handheld devices among drivers has increased substantially over the past 10 years.
In addition to an increase in overall traffic fatalities, motorcyclist fatalities in the United States increased by eight percent, or 382 people, in 2015. It was the greatest increase since 2012. This resulted in a total of 4,976 motorcyclist fatalities. Motorcyclists are more likely than passenger car occupants to be killed if an accident occurs. Research has showed the fatality rate for motorcyclists is about six times the fatality rate for passenger car occupants. Research has also found that just 33 percent of the motorcyclists were speeding near the time of the fatal accident. According to the Federal Highway Administration, there were 8.4 million private and commercial motorcycles on the roads in 2014. Motorcycles can be dangerous, and there have been efforts to increase rider safety classes in recent years. Some states even provide insurance discounts for motorcyclists who complete motorcycle training courses.