2015 deadliest traffic year since 2007

Published: Mar. 1, 2016 at 6:11 PM PST
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Highway researchers say there is a correlation between the economy and traffic deaths. The better the economy, more people tend to die in car crashes. The NSC says 2015 was the deadliest year since 2007. But it can’t all be blamed on a good economy.

If you've noticed there are more cars on the road these days, it’s not an isolated event.

A better economy means more cars are on the road as people travel to and from work. Lower gas prices, too, have more people traveling down the road. That means an increase in the chances of getting into a car wreck. But the National Safety Council says there's another culprit.

Cell phones.

“Hopefully not, especially with, once again, the advances in technology with automobiles having the integrated blue tooth,” says Officer Tim Broadway from Reno Police when asked if cell phone use while driving will become as unacceptable as drinking and driving.

At the intersection of Kietzke and Mill Street we saw several people on their phones.

A survey on AT&T in May 2015 showed 70% of those respondents said they used their smartphones while driving; texting was the most common.

61% said they've read and replied to texts while driving. Drivers said they also used emailed, Facebooked, used Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram; they also used video chat and even snapped selfies while driving.

Officer Broadway says statistics show the Reno area has not seen a significant increase or decrease in traffic or pedestrian fatalities in the past few years.

While the amount of cell phone use and actually what’s being done with those cell phones while driving may be disturbing, it is also unsafe. The National Safety Council says just texting while driving increases your chances of getting into a crash 8 times.

At this time crashes involving texting or talking on the cellphone account for 27% of all accidents.