Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council (NSC) indicate motor vehicle deaths are up 9% through the first six months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015 and are 18% higher compared to the same stretch in 2014.
According to the group’s analysis, an estimated 19,100 people have been killed on U.S. roads since January, along with 2.2 million were seriously injured, with the total estimated cost of those deaths and injuries totalling $205 billion.
The upward trend began in late 2014 and shows no signs of decreasing, NSC noted. States that have been particularly hard hit since 2014 by this “upward trend” in motor vehicle fatalities since 2014 include: Florida, where fatalities are up 43%; Georgia (up 34%); Indiana (up 33%); California (up 31%); North Carolina (up 26%); Illinois (up 24%) and Kentucky (up 24%).
While many factors likely contributed to the fatality increase, the group said a stronger economy and lower unemployment rates are at the core of the trend. Low fuel prices are also considered a driving factor as well, as average gas prices for the first six months of this year are 16% lower compared to the same period in 2015, helping to fuel a 3.3% increase in the number of miles driven.