Traffic Deaths Hit 60-Year Low

Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Despite the fact Americans logged more miles on the nation’s highways, traffic fatalities in 2009 reached the lowest level in six decades. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 33,808 vehicle deaths occurred last year, the fewest since 1950. Federal officials said a combination of seat belts, safer cars and tougher enforcement of drunken driving laws all contributed to the reduced number.
The country accomplished this feat even though the estimated number of miles traveled by motorists in 2009 increased 0.2% over 2008 levels.
A total of 41 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico experienced reductions in highway fatalities, led by Florida with 422 fewer deaths and Texas with 405.
Alcohol-related traffic deaths also declined by 7.4% from 2008 to 2009, with particularly dramatic results in Nevada (down 36%), New Hampshire (down 33%) and Wyoming (down 28%).
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Highlights of 2009 Motor Vehicle Crashes (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) (pdf)
An Analysis of the Significant Decline in Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2008 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) (pdf)


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