On 10 December, The US 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 and a 1.9% decrease from the previous year. The updated 2011 data show the downward trend in recent years continued through last year and represent a 26% decline in traffic fatalities overall since 2005.
While Americans drove fewer miles in 2011 than in 2010, the nearly two percent drop in roadway deaths significantly outpaced the corresponding 1.2% decrease in vehicle miles traveled. In addition, updated Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) information shows 2011 also saw the lowest fatality rate ever recorded, with 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2011, down from 1.11 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2010. Deaths from crashes involving drunk drivers dropped 2.5% in 2011, taking 9,878 lives compared to 10,136 in 2010.
“In the past several decades, we’ve seen remarkable improvements in both the way motorists behave on our roadways and in the safety of the vehicles they drive, and we’re confident that NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings Programme and nationwide collaborations like ‘Click It or Ticket’ and ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ have played a key role in making our roads safer,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.