U.S. traffic deaths fall to lowest level in more than 60 years
Good news for drivers: Even though Americans are logging more miles on the road, the rate of traffic deaths in 2010 fell to the lowest level since 1949 — when the average new car cost $1,200 and Harry Truman was president.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s early estimates show 33,308 U.S. traffic deaths occurred in 2010, down 3 percent from 2009 and 25 percent from 2005.
|The number of U.S. traffic deaths fell 3 percent in 2010 compared with the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.|
According to Department of Transportation projections, the 2010 traffic fatality rate of 1.09 deaths for every 100 million miles driven will wind up being the lowest recorded since 1949. The decrease in traffic deaths for 2010 happened despite a jump of nearly 21 billion in the number of miles driven by Americans last year.
The Department of Transportation cites improvement of vehicle safety and technology, promotion of seat belt use, and campaigns to combat drunken driving and distracted driving as reasons for the decline in traffic deaths.
“Still, too many of our friends and neighbors are killed in preventable roadway tragedies every day,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says.
A regional breakdown indicated the greatest decrease in traffic deaths (12 percent) between 2009 and 2010 occurred in a five-state area — Alaska, Idaho, Montana Oregon and Washington. Not far behind was the grouping of Arizona and California, which saw an 11 percent decrease.
Three regions, however, experienced a rise in traffic deaths from 2009 to 2010:
• Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont — 18 percent.
• Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin — 4 percent.
• New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania — 2 percent.
Specific figures for each state will be available later in 2011.