USA TODAY FEBRUARY 29TH
OMAHA, Neb. – Investor Warren Buffett says distracted driving appears to be a growing problem on American roads that contributed to an increase in deaths last year and hurt profits at his company’s Geico insurance unit. Buffett said on CNBC Monday that auto insurance rates are going up this year because of the increased occurrence and severity of accidents last year. The National Safety Council recently estimated the number of traffic deaths in the United States rose 8% from 2014 to 2015, the largest year-to-year percentage increase in a half-century. Geico’s underwriting profit plummeted to $460 million last year from 2014’s $1.16 billion.
NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION
Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Half (Jan-Jun) of 2015 (DOT HS 812 217), A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first half of 2015 shows that an estimated 16,225 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents an increase of about 8.1 percent as compared to the 15,014 fatalities that were reported to have occurred in the first half of 2014. Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the first 6 months of 2015 increased by about 51.9 billion miles, or about a 3.5-percent increase. The actual counts for 2014 and 2015 and the ensuing percentage change from 2014 to 2015 will be further revised as the final file for 2014 and the annual reporting file for 2015 become available next year. These estimates may be further refined when the projections for the first 9 months of 2015 are released in late December.
NCSA’s Crash*Stat “Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Nine Months (Jan-Sep) of 2015” (DOT HS 812 240), A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first nine months of 2015 shows that an estimated 26,000 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents an increase of about 9.3 percent as compared to the 23,796 fatalities that were reported to have occurred in the first nine months of 2014.