U.S. Traffic Deaths Drop as Agency Points to Crash-Avoiding Tech

By Chester Dawson | October 22, 2019

Fatalities on U.S. roads fell for a second consecutive year and are on track to decline again in 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A total of 36,560 people died in traffic accidents last year, down 2.4% from 2017, NHTSA said in an annual report. Fatalities involving motorcycles, passenger cars, pickup trucks, sports utility vehicles and vans all declined, even though the number of miles driven rose 0.3%.

“More new vehicles are equipped with advanced technologies that prevent or reduce the severity of crashes,” NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens said in a statement. He also pointed to the agency’s efforts to encourage seat belt use and curtail speeding and impaired or distracted driving.

Through the first half of this year, an estimated 16,890 people died in traffic incidents, a 3.4% drop from the year-earlier period, NHTSA said.

While the overall data is positive, deaths of pedestrians and bicyclists each rose to 28-year highs last year. The number of people killed in large trucks also rose 0.8% to 885, the most since 1988.

The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled dropped by 3.4% to 1.13 million.

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