According to preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council, approximately 4.7 million people were seriously injured and 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2017. These estimates are only slightly lower than figures from 2016. For nearly 100 hundred years, the National Safety Council has collected fatality data every month from all 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as the National Center for Health Statistics to ensure that deaths occurring on both private and public roadways are included in their estimates. The National Safety Council also tracks fatality trends. According to National Safety Council officials, an improved economy along with distracted driving, speeding, and failing to wear a seat belt are key factors impacting motor vehicle fatality trends each year. The National Safety Council’s numbers differ from the official federal figures which will be released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) later this year. Unlike the National Safety Council, NHTSA’s figures do not include fatalities on private roadways such as parking lots and driveways.
To help ensure safer roads, the National Safety Council urges motorists to practice defensive driving, recognize the dangers of drugged driving, stay engaged in teens’ driving habits, learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them, fix recalls immediately, ask lawmakers and state leaders to protect travelers on state roadways, and join the Road to Zero initiative to understand how safety professionals are addressing motor vehicle fatalities.