While traffic deaths were down for the past six years, according to federal data, for the first half of 2012 the percentage actually increased. Some say this is due to more miles traveled on U.S. roadways, while others say the unusually warmer winter we experienced last month also played a factor.
According to the data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was a 13.4 percent increase in deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents for the first three months of the year. For April, May and June there was also a 5.3 percent increase.
When looking at those statistics -- especially the winter months -- sources point to the fact that with warmer winter temperatures, more people were out riding motorcycles, as well as bicycles. People could also walk more places, which likely led to an increase in pedestrian accident deaths.
However, during this time the economy was also rebounding. This meant those people who earlier had decided to cancel family trips due to financial concerns were now deciding to take those optional vacations. The same can also be said about those who once were concerned about money and deciding to stay in on the weekends. Some of those who are now gainfully employed have decided to go back out on the weekends to restaurants and bars. Of course this can increase the chances of more drunk drivers being out on the roadways, but it also just means more people out driving.
Looking to the future, sources deter people from calling this increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents a trend, saying a trend is something that happens over a three to five year time period.
This being said, it will be interesting to see if this is in fact the beginning of a trend, or if the increase in fatal accidents leads to drivers becoming more vigilant about following traffic laws and not drinking and driving.