Save up to 90% on a Hartford Courant subscription. Click here to sign up now!

Drunk Driving

US traffic deaths rise sharply after small decline in 2014

After declining for most of the past decade, traffic deaths spiked 8 percent in the first half of this year, prompting a call from the nation's highway safety chief to find ways to reduce the human errors that cause most fatalities.

The new estimate released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration comes just as millions of Americans prepare to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday. AAA predicts that 42 million people will drive 50 miles or more over the coming weekend.

Officials released a final number of fatal crashes for 2014, which showed a decline of 0.1 percent. This year, lower gas prices and an improving economy are prompting people to travel...