On July 1, 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released preliminary 2015 data estimating that 35,200 people died in crashes in 2015 – a 7.7 percent increase compared to 2014.
The most significant fatality increases have been motorcyclists and non-occupants (pedestrians and pedicyclists).
NHTSA’s data are preliminary and will require additional analysis. NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind noted that while some factors, such as increased vehicle miles traveled impact crash data, that is only part of the story.
“Ninety-four percent of crashes can be tied back to a human choice or error, so we know we need to focus our efforts on improving human behavior while promoting vehicle technology that not only protects people in crashes, but helps prevent crashes in the first place,” said Rosekind.
Safety is one of the top priorities of the vehicle industry. Suppliers and vehicle manufacturers have an important role to play to ensure that the driving public and other road users are safe.
Suppliers innovate, develop and produce various safety components and systems technologies for vehicle manufacturers that have the potential to reduce the number and severity of motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. These innovations provide an opportunity to drastically improve motor vehicle safety. The most noteworthy of these innovations are Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).
According to a recent MEMA study conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), if every vehicle on the road were equipped with ADAS technologies, these systems would reduce the toll that crashes have on American society.
ADAS features include those that aid the driver, those that warn the driver, and those that assist the driver in performing certain basic driving functions. ADAS features pave the way to partially and fully autonomous driving, which allow a vehicle to drive or brake without driver intervention. Since the majority of crashes are caused by driver error, these technologies have the potential to significantly reduce traffic fatalities, injuries and property damage claims.
The MEMA study estimated almost 10,000 fatalities could be prevented in the U.S each year. MEMA and its members continue to work closely with vehicle manufactures that are leading the way in research, development, engineering and manufacturing of innovative components and systems that enhance vehicle safety.