U.S. Leads the World in Increased Traffic Deaths
A sobering statistic recently was released by the International Transport Forum: the United States leads the world in increased traffic deaths with a primary cause believed to be distracted driving.
According to the new study of 29 nations, only five of the countries saw an increase between 2010-2016. The U.S., which jumped 13.5 percent in this period, was ahead of Argentina that experienced a 9 percent increase, followed by Chile that experienced a 5 percent increase.
The International Transport Forum, an inter-governmental organization, is the only global body with a mandate for all modes of transport. It acts as a think tank for transport policy issues and organizes an annual global summit of transport ministers. These latest statistics were released at its May Summit in Leipzig, Germany.
About 1,400 decision-makers from more than 80 countries attended.
Sadly, the U.S. also experienced the highest increase in pedestrian deaths during this time frame of 39.2 percent and a 34.8 percent increase in cyclist deaths. Norway saw a 37.5 percent decrease in pedestrian deaths during this same period and Israel saw cyclist deaths cut in half.
Overall, there were an estimated 269 million registered motor vehicles in the United States in 2016, according to statistica.com. Fred Wegman, chair of the International Road Traffic Data and Analysis Group, a division of the International Transport Forum, said,"Distracted driving is more prevalent and prominent in the United States than in other countries."
Derek Kan, U.S. undersecretary of transportation for policy, said the United States started a safety data initiative last year to predict and better understand what causes traffic fatalities.