Traffic Fatalities Decline in the Past Decade

Driving has gotten safer over in the last 10 years.

That’s according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2013 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). The data shows a 3.1 percent decrease from the previous year and a nearly 25 percent decline in overall highway deaths since 2004.

In 2013, 32,719 people died in traffic crashes. The estimated number of people injured in crashes also declined by 2.1 percent.

“With the holidays upon us, I give thanks that more of our friends and family are with us this year because of the broad partnership of safety-driven individuals and organizations who have joined us in making our roads safer for everyone,” says U.S. transportation secretary Anthony Foxx. “Safety truly is a shared responsibility and we’ve all got more work to do in the New Year to keep more families together – that’s my resolution to the American people.”

The more than three percent decline in traffic fatalities continues a long-term downward trend leading to the fatality rate matching a historic low – 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2013, down from 1.14 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2012. Other key statistics include:

  • The number of passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes declined by 3 percent to 21,132 – the lowest number on record dating back to 1975. Passenger vehicles include passenger cars, SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks.
  • Large truck occupant (0.9 percent) and motorcyclist (6.4 percent) fatalities declined for the first time since 2009.
  • Pedestrian fatalities declined by 1.7 percent to 4,735, but remains 15 percent higher than the record low of 4,109 pedestrian fatalities in 2009.
  • Pedalcyclist fatalities increased by 1.2 percent, the highest since 2006.
  • The estimated number of people injured in crashes decreased across all person types in 2013 when compared to 2012, with declines among passenger vehicle occupants (2.2 percent), large truck occupants (4 percent), motorcyclists (5.4 percent), pedestrians (13 percent), and pedalcyclists (2 percent).
  • The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes fell to 3,154 in 2013 from 3,380 in 2012, a 6.7 percent decrease. However, the estimated number of people injured in distraction-affected crashes (424,000) increased by 1 percent compared to 2012.
  • Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities decreased by 2.5 percent in 2013 to 10,076, accounting for 31 percent of the overall fatalities in 2013.

Thirty-four states experienced reductions in overall traffic fatalities, led by Ohio (132 fewer fatalities), Kentucky (108 fewer), Pennsylvania (102 fewer), South Carolina (96 fewer) and Arkansas (77 fewer).

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