The U.S. DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released highway crash fatality data for the first nine months of 2019, showing a 2.2% reduction compared to the same time period in 2018.
According to NHTSA, an estimated 26,730 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes through Sept. 30 of this year, making the third quarter of 2019 the eighth consecutive year-to-year quarterly decline in fatalities since the fourth quarter of 2017.
Preliminary data from the Federal Highway Administration shows vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the first nine months of 2019 increased by approximately 24 billion miles, about a 1% increase. The fatality rate for the first nine months of 2019 decreased to 1.10 fatalities per 100 million VMT, down from the 1.13 fatalities in the first nine months of 2018.
“Dangerous actions continue to plague drivers, such as speeding, distraction, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens said in a statement. “The path forward calls for a combination of policies, research, and action that requires committed and sustained effort from state, local, and federal governments; and from highway safety partners, schools, and communities—all committed to reducing fatalities on our nation’s roads.”
NHTSA is continuing to gather and finalize data on crash fatalities for 2018 and 2019, using information from police reports and other sources. More information can be found on the agency's 2019 Early Estimate Traffic Safety Facts Crash Stats.