Death on the highway is on the increase again in America.
Traffic accidents killed 40,676 Americans last year, up from 40,115 in 1993 and the second consecutive year of increase, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday. Highway fatalities had been falling for several years.
While deaths were up, the number of miles driven also increased, keeping the highway death rate constant at 1.7 per million miles driven.
Dr. Ricardo Martinez, head of NHTSA, said he was concerned that improvements in road safety have stalled.
“The trends are not continuing as we would like,” said Martinez, who is concerned that the problem may be a hard-core type of high-risk driver who is reckless, uses alcohol and doesn’t use safety belts.
He calls these people “double-O drivers, licensed to kill,” a takeoff on the James Bond, 007, books.