Another increase in the number of miles driven by American motorists last year helps explain some but not all of the increase in crash deaths. Total vehicle miles traveled increased 2.2 percent last year while the fatality rate grew 2.6 percent to 1.18 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, according to the agency. Miles driven gained 2.3 percent in 2015.
Regulators have sounded the alarm about the rising safety risks on the roads and highways, which comes after a downward trend for the last decade. The gains have also fueled interest on Capitol Hill in self-driving vehicles as a way to curb deadly crashes, with lawmakers advancing legislation to speed autonomous vehicle deployment.
NHTSA also found that pedestrian, motorcyclist and bicyclist deaths also rose in 2016. Non-vehicle occupants accounted for nearly a third of all crash fatalities last year, up from roughly 1 in 4 traffic deaths in 2007.
(With assistance from Lisa Du .)