Car Crashes and Traffic Fatalities in 2010: An Overview of NHTSA’s Report, Part 1

With the close of 2011 came the final numbers for traffic accidents in 2010.

Over 32,000 people lost their lives on the highways and roads in the United States this year, according to a report recently released by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Although this death toll seems very high, it is the lowest annual number of traffic-related deaths in over 65 years.

Most readers of the recent report were surprised to learn that, even as more drivers and vehicles are traveling on the nation’s roadways, the number of auto wreck fatalities continues to decrease. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood credits increased safety precautions as a major factor in the lower percentage of fatalities in the U.S.

It has been five years since American drivers have experienced an increase in traffic fatalities. In 2005, there were 14.7 deaths for every 100,000 residents in the U.S. That number has decreased to 10.7 deaths for every 10,000 residents in 2010 – which translates to about 10,000 fewer fatalities.

The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in its 2010 findings the lowest highway fatality rate in recorded history, 1.10 deaths for every 100 million highway miles traveled down from 1.15 fatalities for every 100 million miles the year before.

Other important NHTSA findings include:

  • Passenger vehicle and light truck fatalities decreased
  • Drunk-driving crashes resulted in fewer deaths
  • Deaths increased for motorcycle riders and large truck occupants

For more on NHTSA’s recent report, check out our next post on pedestrian accidents in 2010.

Source: US DOT, “U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Lowest Level Of Annual Traffic Fatalities In More Than Six Decades,” 12/8/11.