Itasca, IL – U.S. traffic fatalities increased 5 percent in 2012 from 2011, the first annual increase since 2004-2005, according to preliminary estimates (.pdf file) from the National Safety Council.
Approximately 36,200 motor vehicle fatalities occurred in 2012 compared to the 2011 estimate of 34,600 fatalities. Crash injuries requiring medical attention also increased by 5 percent from 2011 to a total of 3.9 million. The estimated cost of motor vehicle deaths and injuries to society in 2012 was $276.6 billion, a 5 percent increase from 2011. This includes lost wages and productivity, medical expenses, administrative expenses, employer costs, and property damage.
NSC suggests that an improving economy and a mild winter across much of the country increased the total miles driven in 2012, resulting in increased fatalities.