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Traffic Deaths Continue to Rise in U.S., But Don’t Blame Texting

"Traffic fatalities in the U.S. rose for the second-straight year in 2016 despite a dip in crash deaths linked to distracted driving, according to data released by federal highway safety regulators."

"Some 37,461 people died in vehicle collisions in 2016, the highest annual tally since 2007, according to NHTSA figures. The 5.6 percent rise in traffic deaths last year came after a 8.4 percent spike in 2015, which was the largest annual increase since the mid-1960’s."

"Fatalities from distracted drivers, such as those texting, fell 2.2 percent last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported Friday. Deaths linked to other risky behaviors such as speeding, drunk driving and not wearing seat belts contributed to an overall gain in fatalities, the agency said. Drunk driving was blamed for the most deaths."

Google Maps: Drunk Driving Fatalities Per 100k County Residents

Seneca County in the Finger Lakes has the highest fatality rate for drunk driver in New York State 2015. However, when you look at the five-year average, Hamilton and Lewis County edge it out for deadliest for drunk drivers. The 2011-15 average shows Yates County as third, and Seneca County for per capita fatalities in the state, due to drunk drivers. It seems like a lot of people get drunk at wineries and then go for a drive in the Finger Lakes Wine Country in New York.

Data Source: Data Fatalities by State. NHTSA. https://cdan.nhtsa.gov/SASStoredProcess/guest

Fatal Car Crashes in New York, 2009-2014 Monthly Average

Spring is the least deadly time of the year on New York's roads. The lowest number of fetal car crashes accords between the months of February through May in New York State, with February and March being the safest months of year on the roads. Fatalities spike during the months of June and July, and decline as autumn approaches.

Data Source: FARS, Crash Time by State. New York. https://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Crashes/CrashesTime.aspx

Google Maps: 2015 Fatal Distracted Driving Crashes In New York

In 2015, only two fatal crashes were reported in New York State involving use of a cellphone. There were also two fatal crashes reported from drivers who were consuming food or drink while driving, and three while operating radio or heating and air conditioning controls. The most common distraction for drivers is not in the vehicle -- but things outside of the vehicle -- a scenic vista, a pretty women, etc. That said, most distracted driving crashes do not go into detail of what caused the distraction.

Google Maps: Automobile Deaths Per 100,000 Population

There are different ways to look at automobile deaths. One could consider the percentage of those who die in crashes, or the number of crashes per 100,000 miles. The rural states look much worst this way, as people drive more miles then in urban areas.

Data Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/state-by-state-overview