I'm looking at some accident statistics and have a question about how it's reasonable to interpret the data. The numbers are fatalities in traffic accidents, and I want to discuss a newspaper article where the increase from 2012 to 2013 is described as "dramatic". I'd like to know if the increase, which is from 145 to 187, is really anything out of the ordinary.
Let's say I have access to data for all years back to 1960 - is it possible to find mathematically if this "jump" is anything but normal variation? Just by looking at the data, I can see several other increases from one year to another that are as high, though the general trend seems to be falling. What's the "fair" way to assess this data?
I'll admit, I am a noob at statistics and am basically after a nudge in the right direction on how to figure this out.