By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Alarming new statistics show traffic fatalities in the United States are at its worst in 50 years and there’s concern this trend could get worse.

According to a recent report from the National Safety Council, about 19,100 people have died in traffic wrecks so far this year. A 9-percent jump compared to the same time last year.

In Maryland alone, an estimated 231 people have died in traffic related accidents, up 3-percent from last year.

Nationwide, this trend started in 2014. It’s the worst in 50 years and some drivers are more at risk than others.

“Young drivers, are the most at risk driving population for being in a fatal crash did not drive as much during the recession, now as the economy is improving, we are anticipating seeing a substantial increase in young driver related fatalities,” said Ken Kolosh, with the National Safety Council.

Dawn Simmons is a driving instructor; she says sometimes the adults are just as bad.

“And a lot of times I see drivers recording themselves and making videos while they are driving so they are not paying attention. Because if you are looking at your phone, how are you looking at the road?” said Dawn Simmons, with Bliss Academy Driving School.

Experts say one more thing that could be fueling this deadly trend: cheaper gas prices. So that means more people on the roadways and more road trips.

The report is also an ominous prediction for Labor Day weekend, saying more than 430 people will be killed in crashes nationwide.

“People are just in a rush and they won’t slow down,” said Krystal Williams, who lives in Baltimore.

Rebecca Mitchell says, “I try not to drive on holidays, I just try to avoid roadways, avoid trips as much as possible.”

While the Council says these trends aren’t enough to predict what will happen in the coming years, for the immediate future they say there’s no slowing down.

There were a handful of states that saw a decrease in fatalities, but Maryland was not one of them.

Ava-joye Burnett

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