Today's News

Traffic fatalities reach lowest level in six decades; alcohol related to one-third of highway deaths (9/10)

September 10, 2010
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood yesterday released updated 2009 fatality and injury data showing that highway deaths fell to 33,808 for the year, the lowest number since 1950.

The record-breaking decline in traffic fatalities occurred even while estimated vehicle miles traveled in 2009 increased by 0.2 percent over 2008 levels.

In addition, 2009 saw the lowest fatality and injury rates ever recorded: 1.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2009, compared to 1.26 deaths for 2008.

Fatalities declined in all categories of vehicles including motorcycles, which saw fatalities fall by 850 from 2008, breaking an 11-year cycle of annual increases.

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study based on 2006 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 3 and 34.

In addition to the record-breaking drop in fatalities, the number of people injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2009 declined for a 10th straight year in a row, falling an estimated 5.5 percent from 2008, according to NHTSA data released today.

Alcohol impaired driving fatalities declined by 7.4 percent in 2009 – 10,839 compared to 11,711 reported in 2008.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland noted that drunk driving was still a factor in about one-third of the more than 30,000 traffic deaths each year.

"We will continue to work with our state partners to strictly enforce both seat-belt use and anti-drunk-driving laws across this nation, every day and every night," Strickland said in a statement.

Joan Claybrook, president emeritus at the nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen, said the poor economy explained the lower death and injury rates.

"When the economy is down, discretionary driving drops substantially," Claybrook said. "The people who are doing the driving are going to work. They're much more serious and more careful."

Improvements in car designs might be another factor, Claybrook said, noting that manufacturers now build SUVs that are lower to the ground, making them more resistant to rollovers, which can be particularly deadly.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

ASSE's Safety 2013 Review

A photo gallery from the Las Vegas Convention Center, where ASSE’s annual professional development conference was held June 24 to 27. All photos courtesy of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

THE MAGAZINE

ISHN Magazine

ishn april 2014 issue cover

2014 April

In this month's issue of ISHN, check out features about safety in the oil and gas industry.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - January 2014

ISHN0114_FDO_cov.jpgFor Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THEJANUAYR 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.