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Driving is more dangerous than most people realize.

And recently released statistics prove that driving in the United States may be becoming even more dangerous.

According to the National Safety Council, there has been an uptick in traffic fatalities for the past three years.

In 2016, 2017, and 2018, there have been more than 40,000 traffic fatalities in the United States per year:

  • 2018: 40,000 deaths
  • 2017: 40,231 deaths
  • 2016: 40,327 deaths

For many prior years, there were fewer than 40,000 traffic fatalities per year:

  • 2015: 37,757 deaths
  • 2014: 35,398 deaths
  • 2013: 35,369 deaths

However, this is not the first traffic fatalities have topped 40,000 annually. This occurred in 2007 and before. You can find 1999-2018 totals here.

Experts believe the recent increase in roadway fatalities is due to driver behavior.

Traffic fatalities in Washington

According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, traffic fatality rates in Washington have been trending up over the past few years.

From 2010 to 2014, there were fewer than 500 traffic fatalities annually in Washington. However, in 2015, 2016, and 2017 traffic fatalities topped 500.

It is important to remember that most traffic-related deaths are preventable. Most car accidents are caused by driver error, such as distracted driving, excessive speeding, and drunk driving.

It is also important for motorists to understand the dangers of driving and the importance of driving safely. Lawmakers, transportation authorities, and motorists all play an important part in keeping our roads safe.