The good news is that U.S. driving deaths have continued to decline and are at their lowest levels since 1954.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that driving fatalities decreased 8.9% from 37,261 accident deaths in 2008 to a record low of 33,963 accident deaths in 2009. This is the lowest number of recorded highway deaths since the federal government started tracking highway fatality data in 1954.
Driving deaths have steadily decreased since 2005 when 43,510 highway deaths were recorded. These deaths include all motor vehicle deaths including car crashes, truck wrecks and pedestrian car accidents. The fatality rate also declined to the lowest on record. In 2008 there were 1.25 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles travelled; in 2009, there rate decreased to 1.16 fatalities per vehicle mile travelled.
The government attributes the continued decline in traffic deaths to increased seat belt use, safer vehicles, education programs and stronger enforcement of the law.
The decline occurred despite an increased in vehicle miles traveled. American drivers drove 6.6 billion more miles in 2009 than in 2008.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that despite the decrease, there are “still far too many people dying in traffic.”
We agree. The Law Offices of Shane Smith represent victims of car crashes in the Atlanta metropolitan area. If you have lost a loved one in a car wreck, we are sorry for your loss and would like to help you get compensation and accountability.