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U.S. Traffic Deaths Lowest In 60 Years

The United States Department of Transportation released some very encouraging news last week regarding traffic safety. The agency explained that deaths caused by traffic accidents are now at a 60 year low.

As reported in the U.S.A. Today, last year 33,808 people were killed on our nation’s roadways. That figure is nearly 10% lower than the figures from 2008. The total deaths from vehicle crashes have not been that low since 1950, when 33, 186 people died. Amazingly, there were only 1/5 the number of cars on the road in 1950 as there are today. That means that the decrease in traffic fatalities is even more substantial than the raw figures reveal.

Examined as a percentage of total traffic, last year represents the lower figure ever with 1.13 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. Categorically, the types of traffic deaths are decreasing across the board. For example, motorcycle deaths have fallen every year for the past 11 years. Also, drunk-driving deaths last year dropped by 7.4%.

Many causes have likely contributed to the stunning decrease in deaths. These include increased seatbelt use, more stringent enforcement of drunk driving laws, better upkeep of roads, safer vehicles, and better coordination of traffic safety measures between the states.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti are encouraged by the news of lowered traffic deaths. We have witnessed first-hand the devastation that these tragedies bring on friends and family of the victims. However, we also know that tragic accidents still occur far too frequently; much work remains to be done to ensure that negligent drivers stay off the roadways.

As U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “We could not be happier, but we are not going to sit back on our laurels. We have a long, long way to go.”