Motor vehicle-related deaths down 2% in 2019, NSC estimates

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Itasca, IL — An estimated 38,800 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2019 – the second year in a row that the total has declined.

According to preliminary estimates released Feb. 20 by the National Safety Council, the total represents a 2% decline from 39,404 in 2018 and a 4% drop from 40,231 in 2017. Additionally, around 4.4 million people were seriously injured in crashes last year – also a 2% decrease from 2018.

Six states – Alaska, Connecticut, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Vermont – and the District of Columbia experienced declines in fatalities of 13% or more in 2019. Conversely, six states – Delaware, Maine, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee and Wyoming – experienced increases of at least 8%.

“Thirty-eight thousand deaths is still unacceptable, even if it is fewer than in years past,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin said in a Feb. 19 press release. “We are encouraged by the actions so many organizations are taking to reduce deaths, and we applaud legislation that curtails common crash causes such as impairment, distraction and speed. But as a nation, we still need to demonstrate better commitment to saving lives. Roadway deaths can be prevented by doubling down on what works, embracing technology advancements and creating a culture of safer driving.”

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 opioids. Visit to understand the effect of the nation’s opioid crisis.
  • Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits. Check out for resources.
  • Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. Visit for information.
  • Fix recalls immediately. Visit to find out if your vehicle has an open recall.
  • Join the Road to Zero initiative to understand how safety professionals are addressing motor vehicle-related fatalities. Visit to get involved.