Home > motor vehicles, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, safety > New NHTSA Analysis Shows 2011 Traffic Fatalities Declined by Nearly Two Percent

New NHTSA Analysis Shows 2011 Traffic Fatalities Declined by Nearly Two Percent

December 11, 2012

New NHTSA Analysis Shows 2011 Traffic Fatalities Declined by Nearly Two Percent
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today released a new analysis indicating that highway deaths fell to 32,367 in 2011, marking the lowest level since 1949 and a 1.9 percent decrease from the previous year. The updated 2011 data announced today show the historic downward trend in recent years continued through last year and represent a 26 percent decline in traffic fatalities overall since 2005.

While Americans drove fewer miles in 2011 than in 2010, the nearly two percent drop in roadway deaths significantly outpaced the corresponding 1.2 percent decrease in vehicle miles traveled. In addition, updated Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) information released today shows 2011 also saw the lowest fatality rate ever recorded, with 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2011, down from 1.11 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2010. Other key statistics include:

  • Fatalities declined by 4.6 percent for occupants of passenger cars and light trucks (including SUVs, minivans and pickups).
  • Deaths in crashes involving drunk drivers dropped 2.5 percent in 2011, taking 9,878 lives compared to 10,136 in 2010.
  • Fatalities increased among large truck occupants (20 percent), pedalcyclists (8.7 percent), pedestrians (3.0 percent), and motorcycle riders (2.1 percent). NHTSA is working with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to gather more detailed information on the large truck occupant crashes to better understand the increase in fatalities in 2011.
  • The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes rose to 3,331 in 2011 from 3,267 in 2010, an increase of 1.9 percent. NHTSA believes this increase can be attributed in part to increased awareness and reporting.

An estimated 387,000 people were injured in distraction-affected crashes, a seven percent decline from the estimated 416,000 people injured in such crashes in 2010. Thirty-six states experienced reductions in overall traffic fatalities, led by Connecticut (100 fewer fatalities), North Carolina (93 fewer), Tennessee (86 fewer), Ohio (64 fewer) and Michigan (53 fewer).

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