Congratulations, drivers of the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s newly released traffic fatality and injury rates for 2009 confirm the distressing motorist events hit its lowest rate ever last year.
The critical statistic of 1.13 traffic deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is the lowest recorded by the NHTSA. In 2009, 33,808 people died in crashes, a 9.7-percent drop compared to 2008. The 33,808 figure is the lowest number since 1950, when 33,186 people passed away, and 32 percent of the 2009 death total were tied to alcohol.
For injuries, the NHTSA reports 2.217 million for the year, a 5.5-percent decline over 2008 and good for a rate of 74 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
“Today’s numbers reflect the tangible benefits of record seat belt use and strong anti-drunk driving enforcement campaigns,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “But we are still losing more than 30,000 lives a year on our highways, and about a third of these involve drunk driving. We will continue to work with our state partners to strictly enforce both seat belt use and anti-drunk driving laws across this nation, every day and every night.”
Readers interested in the nitty-gritty details can explore the NHTSA’s findings to their heart’s content HERE.