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May 3, 2013 4:15 PM, EDT
U.S. Highway Deaths Rose Last Year Following Six Years of Declines

The number of people killed on U.S. highways rose in 2012 following six years of consecutive declines, the longest streak in the nation’s history, Bloomberg News reported Friday.

Crash fatalities rose 5.3% last year compared with 2011 to an estimated 34,080 deaths, Bloomberg reported, citing a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.

The fatality rate, or the number of people killed for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled, also increased, to 1.16 from 1.1.

The jump coincided with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s campaign against distracted driving, and NHTSA had previously pointed to declines in death rates as evidence of success in promoting safety even when absolute numbers rose, Bloomberg reported.

The report is preliminary until final figures are released later this year.