share on:

nhtsa_logoAccording to a recently released report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities in the first half of 2012 increased by the largest percentage since 1975, the first year the NHTSA started collecting such data. An estimated 16,290 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the first half of the 2012. This represents a 9% increase, compared to the estimated 14,950 fatalities during the first half of last year.

The estimated increase in motor vehicle fatalities must serve as the impetus for the House and Senate to support the nation’s priority highway safety grant program when it considers legislation to continue funding the federal government known as a Continuing Resolution (CR). The new surface transportation legislation, MAP-21, enacted in June 2012, consolidated numerous safety grant programs into one new program known as Section 405. The new Section 405 provides resources for drunk and distracted driving prevention, increased occupant protection, and motorcycle safety.

Under the typical rules for a CR, new programs cannot be funded. As a result, all but $25 million of Section 405 cannot be appropriated. Unless the CR takes into account the revised priority highway safety grant program structure authorized under MAP-21, as much as $120 million in essential traffic safety grant funds could be denied to the states for six months.

These fatality figures are a timely call to action for states to implement new highway safety programs. States must enact laws and implement programs to address such issues as occupant protection for adults and children, teen graduated driver license programs, and alcohol-impaired driving. Passing these laws and executing these programs will protect families on America’s roadways and will help reverse this disturbing trend.

Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up: A blog about drunk driving, alcohol addiction, and criminal justice, is anything but a corporate blog. Sobering Up is an opportunity for anyone interested or involved in the issues of drunk driving, alcohol-fueled crime, alcohol dependence and addiction, and the justice system to participate in the conversation.


  1. It occurs to me that this increase could be the result of the increase in “drugged” driving other than alcohol. Especially with the increase in intoxicated driving due to “legalized” or “medical” marijuana in some states, this is probably the case. Has NHTSA studied this to determine what is the cause of the increase, specifically??? This could be an important conclusion for the country.

  2. The research has already been done and the emperor got ANOTHER summons for public nudity! Anderson and Rees, 2011, conclude that MMJ in fact decreases traffic fatalities by 9%. They also show that MMJ does not increase teen pot smoking. Those of us who were fed the federal garbage about pot leading to heroin have careers, families, and better things to do than swallow more politically motivated lies. Big Pharma’s new blockbuster profit makers, opiates in all shapes, colors and sizes, are now the leading cause of accidental death in our nation, more than ALL actual auto wrecks combined, not just your hypothetical ones! They pay congress good money to keep it that way. Why do you look for unicorns out the window when there is an elephant in the living room? We will know the feds are serious when the DEA focuses on the drugs that really do kill people: nicotine, alcohol and opiates in that order. Instead of the federal system of using marijuana to fund terrorists and cartels, Colorado has chosen to use pot taxes for schools. Now there is some “sens”ible public policy! Wake up and smell the ganjava!

Leave a Response

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.