NSC: Motor vehicle deaths down 1 percent, but still historically high

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Motor vehicle deaths in the United States decreased 1 percent in the first six months of 2017 from the first half of 2016 – but are 8 percent higher than the same period in 2015, according to preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council.

An estimated 18,680 people have been killed on U.S. roads since January, and 2.1 million were seriously injured, NSC states.

Preliminary data released in February showed that as many as 40,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016 – 6 percent more than in 2015 and 14 percent more than in 2014. The two-year spike in deaths marked the largest increase since 1964.

“The price of our cultural complacency is more than a hundred fatalities each day,” NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman said in an Aug. 15 press release. “Although the numbers may be leveling off, the Road to Zero deaths will require accelerating improvements in technology, engaging drivers and investing in our infrastructure.”

NSC offers numerous tips for safe driving. Among them:

  • Make sure every passenger buckles up on every trip.
  • Never use a cellphone or hands-free device when driving.
  • Designate an alcohol- and drug-free driver, or arrange for alternate transportation.
  • Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.