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Car accident fatality rate hits all-time low

December 17, 2012 Car Accidents

On behalf of Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released new data about the number and cause of car accidents, injuries and fatalities in 2011. Overall, the report was largely a positive one, carrying good news regarding the number of car accidents and fatalities that took place last year. However, the report also contained some negative developments in the causes of motor vehicle accidents, namely, that the number of distracted-driving related crashes continued to rise.

According to the NHTSA report, 32,367 people were killed in car accidents in 2011, which is a decline of 1.9 percent from the number of crash deaths in 2010 and a staggering 26 percent drop from the fatality rate in 2005. Further, the 2011 rate marked the lowest fatality level in more than 60 years.

At first glance, it appears that the drop in car accident fatalities appears to be caused by the simple fact that Americans drove fewer miles last year. However, that does not appear to be the case. In 2011, the number of vehicle miles driven in the U.S. fell by 1.2 percent, while the number of car accident fatalities dropped by two percent.

To further illustrate this point, there were 1.10 traffic deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled last year, which is a slight but significant decline from the 1.11 traffic deaths per 100 million miles traveled in 2010. In fact, the 2011 rate marked the lowest fatality rate per miles driven ever recorded in the United States.

However, there is one significant statistic that will more than likely factor in to traffic safety advocates’ efforts in 2012 and beyond: the number of people killed in distracted driving-related car accidents increased by 1.9 percent in 2011. Clearly, distracted driving remains a problem in New York and throughout the country.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “New NHTSA Analysis Shows 2011 Traffic Fatalities Declined by Nearly Two Percent,” Dec. 10, 2012