US Traffic Deaths Fell in 2019 For Third Straight Year, Even as Overall Road Use Increased

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today released preliminary estimates for the 2019 data on highway crashes, which showed a continued decline in traffic fatalities. The federal agency previously reported declines in traffic deaths during 2018 and 2017, and these latest estimates continue the downward trend.

“Safety is our top priority so this report that traffic fatalities appear to have decreased again for the third year is great news,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Fatalities decreased in most major traffic safety categories:

Drivers (down 3%)
Passengers (down 4%)
Motorcyclists (down 1%)
Pedestrians (down 2%)
Pedalcyclists (down 3%)

Overall, this represents an estimated decrease of about 440 deaths, down 1.2% over the reported 36,560 fatalities in 2018—even though traffic miles rose almost 1%.

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If these estimates are reflected in the final data, the fatality rate per 100-million-miles-traveled would be the second lowest since NHTSA started recording fatal crash data.

This new data also shows that nine out of 10 regions across the country have experienced the downturn in deaths in 2019.

Last year, the Department established an intermodal truck and bus working group that focuses on increasing safety and reducing truck and bus-related crashes.

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And, NHTSA has accelerated its efforts to continue the decline of traffic fatalities. In February, NHTSA released $562 million in grants for highway safety programs to the Offices of Highway Safety in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. The grants were issued to help state and local law enforcement agencies enhance their traffic safety efforts to combat risky driving behaviors.

(Source: U.S. Department of Transportation) – Photo by Xan Griffin

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