Early gov’t data show highway deaths per mile driven fell to record low last year

On May 7, 2012, the Washington Post published an article on recent data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicating that a record low number of traffic fatalities occurred in 2011. The agency results show that the number of traffic-related deaths has reached an all-time low since this data began to be compiled in 1921. Specifically, 32,310 motor vehicle fatalities occurred in 2011, a 1.7% drop from 2010.

Numerous factors have been cited by safety experts as possible explanations for the drop in traffic-related deaths. These factors include an increase in seat belt use, steps taken to discourage drunk driving, a weak economy leading to fewer drivers on the road, and improved safety equipment used in cars.

Although the data is encouraging, industry experts warn that the number of motor vehicle crash fatalities may increase in the upcoming years, particularly if the economy improves. However, the 2011 data is encouraging as the number of traffic-related deaths has decreased dramatically, by 26 percent since 2005.

Regional data was also released in the NHTSA’s report on traffic-related deaths. New England was the region with the greatest drop in motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2011 (7.2 percent drop). The region encompassing California, Arizona and Hawaii actually saw a 3.3 percent increase in motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2011. The region encompassing Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi remained flat in regards to traffic-related deaths.

See the full Washington Post article at:

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