Traffic deaths surged in 2015 as driving hit new record


WASHINGTON (AP) — The government says traffic deaths surged last year as drivers racked up more miles behind the wheel than ever before.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says preliminary estimates show fatalities rose 7.7 percent to about 35,200 in 2015. That’s makes last year the deadliest driving year since 2008.

Safety experts cited several reasons for the rebound in fatalities. The most significant is that an improved economy and low gas prices led to a record 3.1 trillion miles driven last year.

Historical data show that after peaking in the 1970s, crash deaths have fluctuated considerably while generally trending downward. Large dips in deaths have corresponded to economic shocks, and increases to gas prices.

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