The number of highway deaths in the United States in 2012 jumped 3 percent to 33,561, representing a surge of 1,082 deaths from 2011, according to the 2012 fatality analysis by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 2012 fatality analysis marked the first increase in US highway death since 2005. The report also showed that the number of people killed in distracted-affected crashes slightly declined.
Distracted-affected crashes led to 3,328 deaths in 2012, compared with 3,360 fatalities in 2011. According to NHTSA, it is just starting to quantify distraction-related accidents, which are intended to tally the effect of texting, phoning or answering a call while driving. Despite the fall in distracted-driving fatalities, around 421,000 people were injured in distracted-affected crashes, representing a 9 percent increase over 2011, estimated at 387,000 people.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement that highway deaths claim over 30,000 lives each year. He also said that while they have made substantial progress over the past 50 years, “it's clear that [there is] much more work to do."
The NHTSA report also showed that the number of deaths involving drunken drivers surged nearly 5 percent to 10,322 fatalities in 2012, from 9,865 in 2011. The majority of those fatalities caused by drunken driving involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration almost double the legal limit.