Highway Fatalities Decline in Most Categories; 2013 Rate at Record Low

AASHTO Journal, 23 December 2014

The number of U.S. highway fatalities in 2013 fell 3.1 percent, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said, while the fatality rate that counts road deaths per miles traveled sank to its lowest level on record.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said during this holiday season “more of our friends and family are with us this year because of the broad partnership of safety-driven individuals and organizations who have joined us in making our roads safer for everyone.”

Although the latest figures showed improvements in most categories, there were still 32,719 fatalities on the nation’s highways in 2013. NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman said “these are tragic reminders of the importance of our efforts and how we must build on our many successes and continue to work even harder to protect the American public.”

The record-low 2013 fatality rate of 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was down from 1.14 deaths per 100 million VMT 2012. NHTSA also said total roadway deaths have fallen nearly 25 percent since 2004.

The agency said the number of passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes declined by 3 percent last year to 21,132, which was the lowest number on record dating back to 1975.

Deaths of large truck occupants and motorcyclists declined for the first time since 2009.

Pedestrian fatalities declined by 1.7 percent — also the first reduction since 2009 — but at 4,735 remained 15 percent higher than the record low in 2009. And bicyclist fatalities rose 1.2 percent, the highest increase since 2006, from 734 in 2012 to 743 in 2013.

Meanwhile, the estimated number of people injured in crashes decreased 2.1 percent overall and fell across all person type categories in 2013, NHTSA said.

For distracted driving, the number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes fell 6.7 percent to 3,154, but the estimated number of people injured in such crashes rose 1 percent of 424,000.

Here is the full report.

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