U.S. ‘treading water’ on preventing roadway deaths, NSC preliminary data shows

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Itasca, IL — The recent upward trend in motor vehicle deaths continues to level off, preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council show – with the number of fatalities in the first six months of 2018 dipping less than 0.5 percent from six-month 2017 estimates.

Approximately 18,720 people died on U.S. roadways between January and June, compared with NSC’s revised estimate of 18,770 during the same period last year. An additional 2.1 million people are estimated to have sustained serious crash-related injuries during the first six months of 2018 – a 1 percent drop from 2017 six-month projections.

The small drop is not so much an indication of progress as much as a stabilization of the steepest two-year increase in more than 50 years, which occurred between 2014 and 2016. If the preliminary 2018 estimate holds, the United States could see its third straight year with about 40,000 roadway deaths.

“When it comes to this leading cause of accidental death, we aren’t making progress – we’re treading water,” Ken Kolosh, manager of statistics at NSC, said in an Aug. 21 press release. “We cannot accept more than 18,700 deaths as the price of mobility. We hope these numbers remind drivers to slow down, buckle up, pay attention and drive defensively so we can get on the road to zero deaths.”

To help ensure safer roads, NSC urges motorists to:

  • Practice defensive driving. Buckle up, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation, get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and drive attentively and avoid distractions.
  • Recognize the dangers of drugged driving, including impairment from prescription opioids. Visit stopeverydaykillers.org to better understand the impact of the nation’s opioid crisis.
  • Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits. Visit DriveitHOME.org for resources.