‘We cannot accept death as the price of mobility’: NSC releases estimates on roadway deaths

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Itasca, IL — Motor vehicle-related deaths, which have trended upward since 2015, decreased during the first half of this year, dropping 3% compared with the same six-month period in 2018, according to preliminary estimates released by the National Safety Council on Aug. 21.

The estimate caps a three-year period in which roadway deaths topped 40,000 each year for the first time since the mid-2000s. A total of 118,315 people died on the roadways between 2015 and 2017, and an estimated 40,000 additional people perished last year.

However, drivers still face the same fatality risk this year as they did when fatalities were eclipsing 40,000 annually because the estimated annual rate of deaths per miles driven has remained stable – NSC estimates 1.2 deaths per every million vehicle miles traveled, unchanged from 2018 rates.

“While the numbers indicate a slight improvement, the rate of deaths remains stagnant, and 18,580 deaths so far this year is unacceptable,” Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of NSC, said in an Aug. 21 press release. “We cannot accept death as the price of mobility. We urge all drivers to slow down, buckle up, pay attention and drive defensively.”

To help ensure safer roads, NSC urges drivers to:

  • Practice defensive driving. Buckle up, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation, get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and drive attentively.
  • Recognize the dangers of drugged driving, including impairment from cannabis and opioids. Visit nsc.org/rxpainkillers to understand the impact of the nation’s opioid crisis.
  • Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits. Visit DriveitHOME.org for resources.
  • Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. MyCarDoesWhat.org can help you.
  • Fix recalls immediately. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to ensure your vehicle does not have an open recall.