NHTSA: Human behavior major factor in roadway deaths

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a branch of the Department of Transportation (USDOT), estimates that there was a 9.3 percent spike in U.S. roadway deaths in the first nine months of 2015, to 26,000.

Decades of NHTSA research have shown that an estimated 94 percent of crashes are tied to human behavior, and the NHTSA is hosting a series of regional summits nationwide -- which kicked off in Sacramento, California, late last week -- to evaluate and examine unsafe behaviors and habits that can be factors in traffic deaths.

“For decades, U.S. DOT has been driving safety improvements on our roads, and those efforts have resulted in a steady decline in highway deaths,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “But the apparent increase in 2015 is a signal that we need to do more. The safety summits that NHTSA is kicking off today in Sacramento will provide us with new approaches to add to the tried-and-true tactics that we know save lives.”

The NHTSA said the time for action has arrived.

“We’re seeing red flags across the U.S., and we’re not waiting for the situation to develop further,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said. “It’s time to drive behavioral changes in traffic safety, and that means taking on new initiatives and addressing persistent issues like drunk driving and failure to wear seat belts.”

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