traffic fatality

2016 traffic deaths jump to highest level in nearly a decade

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2016 traffic deaths jump to highest level in nearly a decade

A jump in traffic fatalities last year pushed deaths on U.S. roads to their highest level in nearly a decade, erasing improvements made during the Great Recession and economic recovery, a leading safety organization said Wednesday.Fatalities rose 6 percent in 2016, reaching an estimated 40,200 deaths compared to 37,757 deaths the previous year, according the National Safety Council. The group gets its data from states. The last time there were more than 40,000 fatalities in a single year was in 2007, just before the economy tanked.

Motor vehicle fatality numbers have been ringing the alarm for two years.

Deborah Hersman

Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices, said state officials continue to point to three predominant factors in traffic deaths — belts, booze and speed. “In the last three years, 13 states have raised speed limits on at least some portion of their interstate highways.”

Unfortunately, we have been tone-deaf to the data and the carnage on our roadways. If we fail to take action, the death toll will continue to rise.

Deborah Hersman

The Texas Killing Fields is the name given to a 25-acre patch of land bordering the Calder Oil Field in Texas. The area is located a mile from Interstate 45, also known as the Highway of Hell due to the high amount of fatal traffic accidents that occur on it. Starting in the early 1970s, the FBI and local police have found nearly 30 bodies dumped in the fields, mostly consisting of young girls. Many claim that the fields are “a perfect place for killing somebody and getting away with it.” It has been hypothesized that the killings were carried out by a serial killer, due to the similarities between the victims and dump site. Most of the victims have been 10-25 years old, with essentially the same hairstyle. Many of the bodies have also been dumped near a source of water. One possible suspect was murderer Edward Harold Bell, who confessed to the murders of 11 girls in Galveston County. However, due to a lack of evidence, police were never able to charge him for the I-45 murders. In 2012, DNA evidence proved that Kevin Edison Smith was the person responsible for the beating, rape, and strangulation of I-45 victim Krystal Jean Baker. Smith had been arrested on a drug charge, and detectives had taken the opportunity to scan the DNA on Baker’s dress and compare it to Smith’s, since technology back in 1996 when Baker was murdered inhibited the police force from doing so. A match was made, and Smith was sentenced to life in prison. However, Smith was never convicted of any of the other murders, and the killers of the rest of the women were never identified. In 2011, a film about the murders was released. Director Ami Canaan Mann visited the fields before the movie was made, and claimed that “you could actually see the refineries that are in the South end of Texas City. You could see the I-45. But if you yelled no one would necessarily hear you, and if you ran there wouldn’t necessarily be anywhere to go.”

abcnews.go.com
'Star Trek' Actor Anton Yelchin Dies in Car Crash at Age 27
Anton Yelchin, a charismatic and rising actor best known for playing Chekov in the new "Star Trek" films, has died at the age of 27.
By ABC News

Anton Yelchin, a charismatic and rising actor best known for playing Chekov in the new “Star Trek” films, has died at the age of 27. He was killed in a fatal traffic collision early Sunday morning, his publicist, Jennifer Allen confirmed.

Yelchin started small with roles in indie films and various television shows, before breaking out in films like the crime thriller “Alpha Dog” and the teenage comedy “Charlie Bartlett.” His biggest role to date has been in the rebooted “Star Trek” films — the third of which, “Star Trek Beyond” comes out in July.

Yelchin, an only child, was born in Russia. His parents were professional figure skaters who moved the family to the United States when Yelchin was a baby. Yelchin’s family requests privacy at this time.