Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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Fatalities climb to levels not seen since 2008

Motor vehicle related fatalities are rising, according to preliminary data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Preliminary data for 2015 shows an estimated 35,200 people died in motor vehicle crashes compared to 32,675 in 2014, reflecting an increase of 7.7%.

Based on the safety agency analysis and projections, this could be the highest fatality rate since 2008.

The Federal Highway Administration is reporting a slight increase of 3.5% in vehicle miles traveled from 2014 to 2015, which would account for some but not all of the increase in fatalities.

NHTSA’s year-end projections also indicate there will be increases in fatalities for pedal cyclists (up 13%), pedestrians (up 10%), and motorcyclists (up 9%).

Included in the national traffic fatality toll is Nebraska’s 246 traffic deaths. The total is up 9% over the 2014 fatality total of 225.

The Nebraska Office of Highway Safety reports that the increase in traffic fatalities for 2015 was led by a 42% increase in the state’s urban roadway deaths of 78 compared with 55 in 2014. The 78 urban roadway fatalities was the highest number recorded since 1987 when 81 people died in urban roadway crashes in Nebraska.

As of July 11, roadway crashes have claimed the lives of 104 people on Nebraska roadways, which is down 11% compared to last year at this time.