Today the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a new analysis indicating that highway deaths fell to 32,367 in 2011, marking the lowest level since 1949. This is a 1.9 percent decrease from the previous year, and a 26 percent decline in traffic fatalities overall since 2005. 2011 also saw the lowest fatality rate ever recorded, with 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2011.
Other key statistics include:
- Fatalities declined by 4.6 percent for occupants of passenger cars and light trucks (including SUVs, minivans and pickups).
- Deaths in crashes involving drunk drivers dropped 2.5 percent in 2011, taking 9,878 lives compared to 10,136 in 2010.
- Fatalities increased among large truck occupants (20 percent), pedalcyclists (8.7 percent), pedestrians (3.0 percent), and motorcycle riders (2.1 percent).
- The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes rose to 3,331 in 2011 from 3,267 in 2010, an increase of 1.9 percent.
- Distraction-affected crashes accounted for an estimated 387,000 injuries, a seven percent decline from the estimated 416,000 people injured in such crashes in 2010.
Thirty-six states experienced reductions in overall traffic fatalities.
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