The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released preliminary data for the first Quarter of 2012.
According to an Associated Press article;
“Traffic deaths soared 13.5 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year, and the number of deaths per miles driven also rose significantly, according to preliminary government estimates released Friday. An estimated 7,630 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first three months of 2012, up from 6,720 deaths in the first quarter of last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.”
“If the estimate holds true, it would be the second largest year-to-year quarterly increase since the government began recording traffic fatalities in 1975. It would also run counter to historic declines in deaths over the past four years.”
While NHTSA did not provide any evidence or opinions about the change in activity, many experts attribute it to the steadily recovering economy, an increase in mileage and congestion, and more people commuting longer distances to find employment.
The significant question is whether this reversal in trends will continue and what that will mean for employers whose operations depend on vehicles for deliveries, transporting passengers, getting crews to job sites, etc.
During the downturned economy, many firms reduced overhead by eliminating safety programs, training, and safety professionals from their payroll. While as a nation, we’ve enjoyed four years of decreasing fatalities and crashes, now is the time for responsible management teams to shake off any reservations about re-investing in proven safety programs. Safety complacency and increasing road congestion make an extremely bad combination.
What are you doing, personally or professionally (as an employer or employee-driver), to modify your driving tactics as congestion increases?