In the fall of 2017 the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released figures for the number of roadway deaths that occurred in the U.S. in 2016. 37,461 persons were reportedly killed which represented an increase of 5.6 percent over 2015. This is a concern because, since the mid-1970s traffic deaths have been plummeting except for 2015 when alarm bells went off due to a surprising increase. Now the news indicates that 2016 is yet another increase over 2015. So why is this happening?
NHTSA provided some clues. Motorcyclist, cyclist and pedestrian fatalities all showed major increases. However they do not tell us whether these deaths are related to an increased danger to these segments of society or whether there is simply an increased exposure due to larger numbers of these groups in the roadway environment.
Throughout recent years cars and light trucks have become technologically more advanced. Electronic stability control was supposed to reduce a vast number of loss-of-control crashes. Is that what the national statistics show?
Advanced air bags situated throughout the vehicle interior were supposed to reduce fatalities. Did this actually occurred?
When modern vehicles became equipped with a vast array of electronics did this complicate the situation? Are there more fires in modern vehicles due to damage of these electronic components?
There are many questions that need answers.