WASHINGTON (AP) — Preliminary estimates show that the number of traffic deaths rose by 8 percent in 2015 — the largest year-to-year percentage increase in a half-century.
The National Safety Council says about 38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads last year, and 4.4 million people were seriously injured. That would make 2015 the deadliest driving year since 2008.
The council says a stronger economy and lower unemployment rates are probably among the key factors — along with lower gas prices. With driving more affordable, more people are on the road.
The Transportation Department estimates there was a 3.5 percent increase in the number of miles driven by Americans in 2015.
The council is a nonprofit organization created by Congress to promote safety.