Data released last week by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed highway crash fatalities in the U.S. down 2.2 percent for the first 9 months of 2019 compared to the first 9 months of 2018.

An estimated 26,730 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes through September 30, making the third quarter of 2019 the eighth consecutive year-to-year quarterly decline in fatalities since the fourth quarter of 2017.   

Preliminary data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) shows vehicle miles traveled in the first 9 months of 2019 increased by approximately 24 billion miles, about a 1% increase. The fatality rate for the first 9 months of 2019 decreased to 1.10 fatalities per 100 million VMT, down from the 1.13 fatalities in the first 9 months of 2018.

“Dangerous actions continue to plague drivers, such as speedingdistraction, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens. “The path forward calls for a combination of policies, research, and action that requires committed and sustained effort from State, local, and Federal governments; and from highway safety partners, schools, and communities – all committed to reducing fatalities on our Nation’s roads.”

NHTSA is continuing to gather and finalize data on crash fatalities for 2018 and 2019, using information from police reports and other sources. For more information, view the 2019 Early Estimate Traffic Safety Facts Crash Stats.