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Traffic Deaths Up 10% In First Half Of 2016

Some alarming news from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: traffic deaths are up by 10.4% this year, compared to the same point in 2015 while maintaining a steady rise, according to a recent article by the New York Times.

The numbers released also show that Americans drove about 50 billiion more miles so far this year—what amounts to be an increase of around 3.3 percent from the same point last year—thought the authorities are quick to point out that this increase does not explain the rise of traffic deaths. 

To be more specific, in the first six months of 2016, there have been 17,775 traffic deaths, compared to 16,100 in the same period of 2015. 

“It is too soon to attribute contributing factors or potential implications of any changes in deaths on our roadways,” said a spokesperson from the agency. 

By no means is this a new trend, however. Since the final months of 2014, the rate of fatalities has increased for seven consecutive quarters.

The news comes at a time when federal officials announced their "Road to Zero" plan, discussed previously in this blog, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths completely by 2046. 

In the short term, the Department of Transportation is committing $3 million over the next three years for short term programs designed to make an immediate impact, including promoting seat-belt usage and discouraging distracted driving. 

In the long term, the Obama administration hopes the increased usage of driverless cars can eliminate the impact of human error on traffic accidents and deaths. However, even though more and more autonomous vehicles are hitting the roads, it'll be some time before there are enough such cars to make a tangible impact. 

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