Highway fatalities down almost 2 percent in 2017

(Washington, DC – Insurance News 360) – The number of fatalities on America’s roadways is down, after two years of increases, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In 2017, 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes, a decrease of almost 2 percent from 2016. Also, the NHTSA notes that figures for the first half of 2018 appear to show that the decrease is continuing this year.

“Safety is the Department’s number one priority,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “The good news is that fatalities are trending downward after increasing for the two previous years. But, the tragic news is that 37,133 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes in 2017. All of us need to work together to reduce fatalities on the roads.”

Other changes since 2016 include a decrease in pedestrian fatalities (the first since 2013); an increase of vehicle miles traveled – this number is up 1.2 percent from 2016. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled actually decreased from 1.19 in 2016 to 1.16 in 2017. That’s a 2.5 percent drop.

“Dangerous actions such as speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence are still putting many Americans, their families and those they share the road with at risk,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi R. King. “Additionally, we must address the emerging trend of drug-impaired driving to ensure we are reducing traffic fatalities and keeping our roadways safe for the traveling public.”

The 1.8-percent decrease from 2016 to 2017 compares to the 6.5-percent increase from 2015 to 2016 and the 8.4-percent increase from 2014 and 2015.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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