National Traffic Accident Deaths Down 4 Percent from 2017
The number of people who died in traffic accidents last year in the United States has declined by 2 percent for the second year in a row, however 38,800 fatalities is still far too many and more needs to be done to make roads safer.
The National Safety Council released its preliminary estimates Thursday on the number of fatalities and injury crashes nationwide.
The data shows that motor vehicle crashes declined in 2019 by 2 percent compared to 2018 with 39,404 deaths which is also a 4 percent decline from 40,231 deaths in 2017. when more than 40,000 people died on U.S. roadways.
While any move downward is positive, the NSC president and CEO Lorraine M. Martin stated there is still a lot of work to be done.
“We are encouraged by the actions so many organizations are taking to reduce deaths, and we applaud legislation that curtails common crash causes such as impairment, distraction and speed,” she said.
The NSC reports that traffic accident deaths had been declining since 1985 and reached an all-time low in 2011 with 11,300 fewer deaths than in the 1980s. However, the fatalities began trending upwards again and five years later in 2016 there were 5,000 more deaths than in 2011 in the United States.
Furthermore, there were roughly 4.4 million people who required medical attention for injuries in crashes last year which is also a 2 percent drop compared to 2018 figures.
The states with the most significant decline in traffic fatalities were Alaska (-16%), Connecticut (-14%), District of Columbia (-21%), Nevada (-14%), New Hampshire (-30%), South Dakota (-21%) and Vermont (-31%).
However, there were six states where traffic fatalities grew by more than 5% – Delaware (20%), Maine (35%), Nebraska (8%), Ohio (8%), Tennessee (10%) and Wyoming (32%).
There have been efforts made by cities and counties to reduce traffic deaths. At least 10 cities, including Los Angeles, have adopted the Vision Zero plan to make streets safer by redesigning high-crash areas.
Drunk driving accounts for roughly a third of all traffic fatalities. In Utah, they lowered the legal limit of blood-alcohol concentration to 0.05 in an effort to crack down more on DUI drivers. Some other states are considering doing the same thing.
Coalitions such as Road to Zero have also raised the national dialogue.
Finally, there have been advances in technology that have helped reduce collisions such as lane departure warning systems, backup cameras and automatic emergency braking. This may have helped reduce crashes or lessen the severity of a collision when a newer vehicle is involved.
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