Today, more than half of the people who were killed in car crashes in 2015 were young people.
And a new report released this week from the Center for Automotive Research shows that the number of car safety-related injuries rose by 7.6% in the year after the 2015 National Safety Council’s report was released.
“The number of people killed in crashes has actually been going up, so I think that there’s an expectation that safety will be a priority,” said Carole Coyle, president and CEO of the Center, which released the report this week.
“I think that’s a positive, but the reality is, in this country, safety is still a very high priority,” Coyle added.
Coyle says the rise in the number is “a reflection of our rapidly evolving society” and that the report shows how the car industry has been taking steps to reduce the risk of injuries and deaths in the future.
“We are now moving into a world where car safety will play a much more prominent role in the lives of Americans than it ever has before,” she said.
The safety council’s 2015 report concluded that car-to-vehicle collisions are the leading cause of deaths in American society.
Coyne says the report does not directly address how the number has gone up in recent years.
“I think what we’ve learned is that the cars we’ve been driving have improved significantly over the last couple of decades, and we have a much safer environment for people to drive in, so it’s not like we’re moving into the future where cars are the only mode of transportation,” she told NBC News.
“Our cars are safer today than they were in the 1970s and 1980s,” Coyne added.
The report also found that while car crashes have been on the decline since 2005, the number and types of crashes have increased dramatically in recent decades.
That includes more people dying in car accidents.
The number and kinds of crashes in 2014 increased by nearly 2% and are expected to continue to increase in the coming years, according to the report.
That trend could continue for years to come.
More than 50% of car crashes are not reported to the authorities, according the report, which found that more than 90% of crashes involving people younger than 25 are unreported.
“This is a huge problem, and it’s a challenge we all have to deal with,” said John O’Neill, chief of the Division of Insurance and Financial Analysis at the Insurance Information Institute, which commissioned the report from Coyle.
“It’s going to continue, but we’re going to have to figure out a way to address it.”
Coyle said the increase in accidents is not necessarily a result of the increased number of cars.
“If you look at the trends over the past 20 years, the auto industry has seen a huge increase in fatalities,” she explained.
“What you’re seeing now is an increase in deaths.
There’s a lot of other things going on, but it’s just the overall trend.”
O’Neill told NBC that the car manufacturers have been aware of the problem of crashes since they started producing more cars, but that they had to “work around it” to keep up with demand.
Cities and towns that have adopted safer streets, bike paths and parking systems are not exempt from the problem, O’Neil said.
“We’re talking about people who have never ridden a bike, never had a car and now they have to be prepared for a scenario where they’re going on the road,” he said.
“There are going to be more accidents in the next 10 years than there are today.”
Coyce said the number one reason that drivers don’t follow traffic signals or brake at stoplights is because they’re too busy trying to avoid cars.
“It’s not that cars aren’t following the traffic lights, but people don’t want to be involved in these accidents,” she added.