A new, preliminary estimate shows approximately 35,200 motor vehicle fatalities occurred in 2013, a 3% decrease from the year before, according to the National Safety Council.
Crash injuries requiring medical attention also are estimated to have fallen by 2% since 2012 to a total of 3.8 million.
Although 2013 traffic fatalities are 3% lower than 2012, they are 1% higher than 2011. The relatively high number of fatalities in 2012 appears to have been a one-year bump, according to the group, partially due to a mild winter. The 2013 numbers have dropped back down to 2010 and 2011 levels.
"More than 90% of crashes are due to human error," said John Ulczycki, vice president of strategic initiatives at the National Safety Council. "Drivers are taking a lot of risks on our roads today – people are speeding, driving impaired from alcohol and drugs, not wearing seat belts, talking on phones, reading or sending email and texts and parents are letting teens drive before they are ready.”
The estimated cost of motor vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage in 2013 was $267.5 billion, a 3% decrease from 2012.
The National Safety Council was chartered by Congress and is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, homes, in communities and on the road.