Highest death stats in years seen for motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians

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Updated Oct 12, 2017

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More people died on U.S. roads in 2016 than 2015, an increase of 5.6 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Seeing the most dramatic fatality increases were motorcyclists, with the most deaths since 2008; bicyclists, with the most deaths since 1991; and pedestrians, with the most deaths since 1991, the NHTSA reports.

Fatal crashes caused by distracted or drowsy driving dropped in 2016, but the year saw increases in deaths caused by speeding, drunken driving and not wearing a seatbelt. Those three issues caused the most fatalities by far.

The number of vehicle miles traveled on U.S. roads increased in 2016 by 2.2 percent. The fatality rate jumped 2.6 percent, to 1.18 deaths per 100 vehicle miles traveled.

Statistical breakdown

The NHTSA released the following statistics on the 37,461 reported deaths on U.S. roads in 2016: (Note: Accidents also have multiple contributing factors, hence the higher number of total causes versus the total number of deaths.)

  • Motorcyclist deaths (5,286 fatalities) increased by 5.1 percent.
  • Pedestrian deaths (5,987 fatalities) increased by 9 percent.
  • Bicycle deaths (840 fatalities) increased by 1.3 percent.
  • Distraction-related deaths (3,450 fatalities) decreased by 2.2 percent.
  • Drowsy driving deaths (803 fatalities) decreased by 3.5 percent.
  • Drunken driving deaths (10,497 fatalities) increased by 1.7 per­cent.
  • Speeding-related deaths (10,111 fatalities) increased by 4 percent.
  • Unbelted deaths (10,428 fatalities) increased by 4.6 percent.