NHTSA: 2010 had lowest highway fatality rate since 1949

Washington – U.S. highway deaths declined to 32,885 in 2010 – the lowest total since 1949 – from 33,883 in 2009, according to a report (.pdf file) released Dec. 8 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The fatality rate declined despite an increase of 46 billion more miles driven, a 1.6 increase from 2009, according to a NHTSA press release.

Despite the overall decrease in crash fatalities, the 2010 Fatality Analysis Reporting System data showed that fatalities involving large trucks increased to 3,675 in 2010 from 3,380 in 2009, an 8.7 percent increase. This reverses a trend in which the rate of large truck fatalities declined by a total of 31 percent between 2007 and 2009, according to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report (.pdf file) released in October.

Other key findings in the NHTSA report include:

  • Crash fatalities involving drunk drivers decreased by 4.9 percent in 2010.
  • Rural road crash fatalities declined by 6.7 percent.
  • Intersection fatalities decreased by 7.1 percent.

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