Alcohol-Related Traffic Deaths Highest in 15 Years

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in its preliminary report on fatalities occurring in 2006 as a result of motor vehicle accidents, project alcohol-related traffic fatalities increased by 2.4 percent from 2005 to 2006; 17,941 for 2006 versus 17,525 for 2005.

This represents the highest number of alcohol-related traffic deaths since 1992. Injuries sustained in alcohol-related traffic accidents declined 6 percent, from 2.7 million in 2005 to 2.54 million in 2006.

Comparing 2005 to 2006, overall traffic fatalities are down slightly by 0.3 percent, from 43,443 in 2005 to 43,300 in 2006. The 2006 fatality rate is projected to be 1.44 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), down from 1.45 in 2005, a drop of 0.7%.

Pedestrian deaths dropped from 4,881 to 4,768 (-2.3%), but bicyclist deaths increased from 784 to 789 (0.6%). Fatalities from large truck crashes declined 3.7 percent, from 5,212 to 5,018. Motorcycle rider fatalities are projected to increase for the ninth year in a row, and have increased more than 125 percent since 1997. Injuries to non-occupants decreased 7.6 percent, with pedestrian injuries dropping from 64,000 to 58,000 (-5.4%). Motorcycle and bicyclist injuries remained the same.

The preliminary 2006 numbers project a 2006 injury rate of 85 injuries per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), down from 90 in 2005, a decrease of 5.6%. There are 1.4 million drunk driving arrests in this country every year. Estimates show that highway crashes cost society $230.6 billion a year, about $820 per person.

The NHTSA monitors traffic deaths and injuries through its Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which contains data on a census of fatal traffic crashes within the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. FARS has been operational since 1975 and has collected information on over 989,451 motor vehicle fatalities. FARS collects information on over 100 different coded data elements that characterizes the crash, the vehicle, and the people involved. In 1996, NHTSA made FARS data easier to obtain by using Internet technology.

The 2006 preliminary report can be found on the internet at The final report will be available in late summer. This national census of motor vehicle fatalities is not available from any other source.

The personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience in handling personal injury and motor vehicle claims. For 50 years spanning 3 generations, we have obtained results for satisfied clients. If you or someone close to you has been injured in an accident, contact the offices of Levine & Slavit in for their help. Levine & Slavit has offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding areas including Westchester County.

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