Highway Traffic Deaths Continue to Fall

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 32,788 people died in traffic accidents in the United States in 2010, the lowest number of motor vehicle related deaths since 1949. This is a remarkable achievement given that the population of the United States more than doubled between 1949 (149 million) and 2011 (311 million). The largest regional decrease in deaths from motor vehicle collisions from 2009 to 2010 (- 12%) was in the Northwest Region which includes Alaska. NHTSA has not yet released individual state statistics for 2010. NHTSA attributes the continuing decline in the number of crash-related deaths and serious injuries to various factors including increased seat belt use, anti-drunk driving campaigns, stricter drunk driving laws, graduated driver’s licenses, improved air bags, and safer road designs. See NHTSA Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2010,http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811451.pdf

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