Highway Fatalities to Reach Record Low

May 07, 2012

The number of highway deaths in the U.S. is on track to be at its lowest on record, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's early estimate of 2011 traffic fatalities.

There were an estimated 32,310 motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2011 versus 32,885 fatalities that occurred in 2010, which is a decline of about 1.7%.

A statistical projection of traffic fatalities in 2011 shows that an estimated 32,310 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This is a decline of about 1.7% compared to the 32,885 fatalities that occurred in 2010. If these projections are realized, fatalities will be lowest on record (since 1949).

Also, in 2011, fatalities declined marginally in the first (down 0.1%) and fourth (down 0.7%) quarters and declined in the second (down 3.2%) and third quarters (down 2.5%), as compared to the respective quarters in 2010. Traffic fatalities have been steadily declining during the past 5
years since reaching a near-term peak in 2005, decreasing by about 26% from 2005 to 2011.

Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration shows that vehicle miles traveled in 2011 decreased by about 35.7 billion miles, or about a 1.2% decrease. On a quarterly
basis, the 2011 VMT dropped in all four quarters, decreasing by 0.1% during the first quarter, by 1.8% in the second quarter, by 2% in the third quarter and by 0.7% in the fourth quarter.

The fatality rate for 2011 is projected to decline to the lowest on record, to 1.09 fatalities per 100 million VMT, down from 1.11 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2010.