It is an unfortunate truth that deaths on the roads and highways of the United States seem to be circumstance that are an unavoidable part of yearly highway safety studies. Though the ultimate goal of highway safety authorities would be no traffic fatalities at all, new data suggests the next best thing, a drop in the amount of traffic related deaths.
After two years of increases, highway fatalities were down last year – and the trend appears to be continuing in 2018. According to the data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration, 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes on U.S. highways in 2017. That’s a decrease of almost 2 percent from 2016.
Some other notable traffic related numbers included:
- A decline in pedestrian deaths of about 2 percent, which is a first since 2013
- An increase of 5.8 percent in the amount of combination trucks involved in fatal crashes
- An increase of 1.2 percent in vehicle miles traveled from 2016 to 2017
But despite the lower numbers of fatalities in the latest data, there are still many hazards out on the roads today. According to Heidi R. King, NHTSA Deputy Administrator “Dangerous actions such as speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence are still putting many Americans, their families and those they share the road with at risk,” “Additionally, we must address the emerging trend of drug-impaired driving to ensure we are reducing traffic fatalities and keeping our roadways safe for the traveling public.”
The decreased number of traffic deaths in the most recent data show a drop of 1.8 percent when compared to 2016 to 2017 but the years prior put it all in perspective. There was a 6.5 percent increase from 2015 to 2016 and an 8.4 percent increase from 2014 to 2015. With numbers like that it’s no wonder that traffic safety authorities are taking notice of these latest figures. Hopefully the trend will continue into the future.