The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a new analysis indicating that highway deaths fell to 32,367 in 2011, marking the lowest level since 1949. But, the preliminary data for the first half of 2012 shows an increase of fatal crashes by more than 9% compared to 2011.
The estimated 9% increase during the first half of 2012 represents the largest such increase during the first half of the year in recorded history (since 1975—the first year when NHTSA started collecting data on such crashes). The previous highest increase during the first half of a year was the 6.4-percent increase in fatalities reported in the first half of 1979 as compared to the fatalities reported during the first half of 1978.
What could have caused this increase? It was definitely not because people were driving more or more cars on the roads. While NHTSA did not want to speculate, my theory is that neglected brake and chassis repairs are driving the 9% increase in fatalities.