There was an alarming increase in deaths on American highways in 2015. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) most recent available data, 35,092 people died in traffic crashes on US highways last year. That statistic represents a rise of 7.2 percent from the number of deaths reported in 2014.

Pedestrian and bicycling fatalities have also increased to a level not seen in 20 years. Motorcyclist deaths increased more than 8 percent. Drunk driving deaths went up 3.2 percent to 10,265 in 2015. Significantly, one in 10 traffic deaths involved distracted driving, such as using a cell phone to text while driving.

According to the NHTSA, the sudden surge in fatal traffic crashes can be partially attributed to job growth and lower fuel prices. US motorists traveled 3.5 percent more miles in 2015 than 2005, the largest increase in 25 years. The sudden increase in traffic deaths prompted the Department of Transportation and the NHTSA to issue a call for action seeking data to combat the increase in traffic fatalities.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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