• U.S.

Here’s Why Traffic Deaths Are on the Rise This Year

2 minute read

Motor vehicle deaths are on the rise this year, in a trend that’s not likely to reverse anytime soon, safety advocates said.

A new report from the National Safety Council, a nonprofit group devoted to using research and data to prevent deaths, found that fatalities from traffic incidents were 9% higher through the first six months of 2016 than during the same time period last year.

Nearly 19,100 people have died on U.S. roads since January, and 2.2 million have been injured, the report said, as a stronger economy and lower unemployment rates combined with lower average gas prices to put more drivers on the road this year.

“Our complacency is killing us,” Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, said in the report. “One hundred deaths every day should outrage us. Americans should demand change to prioritize safety actions and protect ourselves from one of the leading causes of preventable death.”

The report also estimated that Labor Day weekend (Sept. 2 to Sept. 5) will see the most road deaths for the holiday weekend in the past eight years. The report predicted that 438 people will die in traffic accidents during the three-day holiday weekend. In 2008, the council estimated 439 deaths; 473 actually died on the road.

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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com