Traffic deaths in the United States increased last year to the highest level since 1990. Fedeal officials attributed the increase to factors like rollover crashes, heavy drinking, and more baby boomers climbing aboard motorcycles, the Los Angeles Times reported.
An estimated 42,850 people – 734 more than 2001 – were killed in crashes nationwide, according to preliminary statistics issued yesterday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Alcohol was a factor in 42 percent of fatalities.
Traffic accidents remained the leading cause of death for ages from 1 to 65.
Jeffrey Runge, the top auto safety official in the Bush administration, said, “We’re held accountable for the central goal [of reducing deaths], but the states have all the cards.” A staffer of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said that the federal government “is not responsible for state laws, but they do have a role in providing funding.”