US Roads Safer

The number of people killed in traffic crashes in the US during 2008 is expected to drop to the lowest level since records began. Early projections show a fall of nearly 10% drop in highway traffic deaths in the first 10 months of this year. This new fatality data marks the first time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been able to project fatality figures prior to the end of the calendar year. Early estimates show that 31,110 people died on the nation’s roads from January-October, compared to 34,502 in 2007 during that same 10 month time period. In addition, the fatality rate per 160 million vehicles km travelled for the first nine months of 2008 is 1.28, compared to 1.37 for 2007.

The information has been collated using new electronic data gathering techniques and according to US Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, this shows how the Department of Transportation is working to make projections in near real time to… “give safety professionals the data they need to keep motorists safe. For the second year in a row we are seeing historic lows in deaths on our nation’s roads,” Peters said. “While we are encouraged by these declines, our work is not nearly complete in making our safe transportation network even safer.”

NHTSA annually collects crash statistics from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to produce annual reports on traffic fatality trends. The agency intends to update 2008 estimates regularly as more data becomes available. The final counts for 2008 will be made available in the summer of 2009.

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