The US Department of Transportation releases it’s 2010 crash statistics this week, showing the lowest level of traffic fatalities since 1949. The number of traffic fatalities dropped 3% from 33,808 in 2009 to 32,788 last year despite the fact that Americans drove over 20 billion miles more. The number works out to 1.09 traffic accident deaths for every 100 million miles traveled. This number is significantly lower than when the number of traffic deaths peaked at 54,589 in 1972 – which had 4.33 deaths for the same number of miles traveled.
Safety experts attribute the drop to public awareness campaigns, safer road design, and improved vehicle safety. Improvements like rumble strips median barriers and pavement markings have helped create safer roads, while airbags and stability control have created safer automobiles. Roy Luck, director of research at Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety adds that “The philosophy of safe driving is beginning to become more and more ingrained in society”
As lawyers in the Personal Injury field, we see the devastating effects of serious auto accidents almost every single day. While statistics like this are very encouraging, there is still a long road ahead. With distracted driving on the rise, we need to continue to work towards keeping our roadways safe for our drivers.