The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday road deaths increased 3.
3 percent to 33,561 in 2012 — the first increase since 2005.
NHTSA said during an unseasonably warm winter that 72 percent of the increase occurred in the first quarter of the year. Most of those involved were motorcyclists and pedestrians. It came as overall miles traveled in 2012 was about the same as 2011.
Motorcycle rider fatalities increased for the third straight year (a 7.1 percent increase over 2011). Ten times as many riders died not wear a helmet in states without a universal helmet law than in states with such laws. Michigan in 2012 approved legislation that allows riders with special training to go without a helmet.