Traffic Death Rate Hits New Low

Friday, April 02, 2010

The fewest number of Americans died on the nation’s roadways in 2009 since 1954, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Figures compiled by the agency show 33,963 people lost their lives last year in motor vehicle traffic crashes. In 2008, the total was 37,261. The decline from 2008 to 2009 was 8.9%.

The figure for deaths per millions of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) was even more impressive. The rate of 1.16 per VMT was the lowest ever recorded. Back in 1921, the first year for which statistics are available, the fatal rate was 24.08 VMT.
The total number of traffic deaths in 2009 was actually lower than the number of deaths in 1934, even though Americans only drove 216 million miles back in 1934 compared to 29 billion miles in 2009.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2009 Traffic (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) (pdf)


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