Grim highway fatality statistics for the year 2015

Every year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration releases data on trends people getting killed or seriously injured on our highways. In July they released information on fatalities for the year 2015, and the news was not good.

One of the leading indicators was truck-related highway deaths, up 4 percent. This is significant because truck accident deaths were already the largest category, by percentage of vehicles on the road.

Other findings for 2015:

· Highway deaths are up almost 8 percent.

· About 35,200 people in all died on our nation's streets and roads. That will make 2015 the deadliest year since 2008.

· People are driving more miles - a 3.5 percent increase over the previous year.

· More pedestrians died from being struck by cars.

· More bicyclists died.

· More motorcyclists died.

· The Memphis region saw an 8 percent increase in highway deaths. The Northwest states had the worst results, up a full 20 percent.

An NHTSA spokesman said that extra miles driven is only one reason for the increase. The other factor is driver behavior.

Ninety-four percent of crashes can be tied back to a human choice or error, so the need to focus efforts on improving human behavior is critical.

Also important will be improved safety technologies for protecting cars from crashes, and preventing crashes via sensors.

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