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Traffic fatalities may be the lowest on record

With evolving technology presenting the issue of distracted driving, one would expect crash statistics to increase. However, did you know that traffic fatalities for 2011 were probably the lowest yearly total on record for the United States? Wisconsin residents will be happy to know that car accidents are down almost 2 percent from 2010. These records have been documented since 1949.

An article notes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a preliminary report, which estimates that 32,310 people died on highways last year. Fortunately, that number is lower than the 32,885 deaths reported in 2010.

Sources say that traffic fatalities have fallen in recent years. In 2005, there were 43,510. The fatality rate per 100 million miles of travel has also decreased. In 2005, it was 1.46; however, in 2010, it was reported at 1.11. Furthermore, that rate is expected to decrease to 1.09 for 2011.

The number of projected fatalities dropped or stayed the same for most regions, except California and Arizona. The preliminary report suggests that fatalities in these areas actually increased by 3.3 percent.

Nevertheless, the preliminary information gives motorists a good glimpse into accident statistics around our nation. While sources do not give an exact reason for the steady decline in collisions, the information helps shed light on the progress of crash prevention. As agencies continue to address issues related to motor vehicle safety, hopefully the crash numbers will continue to decrease in coming years. The official report with final statistics will be released in the fall.

Source: USA Today, "Feds estimate 2011 had fewest traffic deaths on record," Todd Spangler, May 8, 2012.

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