Monday, 05 October 2020 13:27

2019 Fatality Data Show Continued Annual Decline in Traffic Deaths


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Oct. 1 released a preview of 2019 data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and preliminary estimates for the first half of 2020.  

Alongside the release of the 2019 preview data and 2020 first-half fatality projections, the agency issued two companion reports, "Special Report: Examination of the Traffic Safety Environment During the Second Quarter of 2020" and "Drug and Alcohol Prevalence in Seriously and Fatally Injured Road Users Before and During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency."


Traffic deaths decreased nationwide during 2019 as compared to 2018. There were 36,096 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2019. This represents a decrease of 739---down 2%---from the reported 36,835 fatalities in 2018, even though vehicle miles traveled increased by nearly 1%.  


As a result, the fatality rate for 2019 was 1.10 fatalities per 100 million VMT---the lowest rate since 2014, down from 1.14 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2018.  


Fatalities decreased in most major traffic safety categories in 2019: 


  • Passenger vehicle occupants (down 2.8%)
  • Motorcyclists (down 0.5%)
  • Pedestrians (down 2.7%)
  • Pedalcyclists (down 2.9%)


Fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck showed relatively no change, decreasing from 5,006 in 2018 to 5,005 in 2019. Large trucks include both commercial and non-commercial trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 lbs.

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