Traffic deaths increased 5.6% in 2016 to 37,461 fatalities, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Data collected from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, show the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on U.S. roads in 2016 increased by 2.2%, and resulted in a fatality rate of 1.18 deaths per 100 million VMT – a 2.6% increase.

NHTSA found that distracted driving and drowsy driving fatalities declined, while deaths related to other reckless behaviors – speeding, alcohol impairment, and not wearing seat belts – continued to increase. Motorcyclist and pedestrian deaths accounted for more than one-third of the year-to-year increase.

www.nhtsa.gov

California pushes forward with glider rules, challenging Trump administration rollback

California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) has approved stricter regulations on commercial trucks in 2020, sticking to a rules framework that federal regulators signaled they were abandoning. In late 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed dropping emissions requirements on gliders – large commercial trucks that use new bodies and trailers but older engines and transmissions. CARB would keep those rules in place, setting up a conflict between state and federal regulators. California leads a coalition of states that require higher passenger car fuel economy, and because the state is so large, its rules often become de facto national standards.

Federal and state regulators had worked out a unified emissions framework for commercial trucks during the Obama administration, but President Donald Trump has made rolling back regulations a priority. California has long held a waiver from the EPA, allowing it to mandate higher standards than the federal government. With the divergence of the state and federal standards, however, the EPA could revoke that right, setting the stage for a likely court fight. www.arb.ca.gov; www.epa.gov