Fatal Car Crashes Fell 2% in 2017; 2018 Appears to Follow Trend
Final U.S. highway fatality numbers for 2017 are down following two consecutive years of large increases. In addition, preliminary estimates for the first six months of 2018 appear to show that this downward trend continues into this year.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, a decrease of almost 2 percent from 2016. The full 2017 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data set reveals other numbers:
- Pedestrian fatalities declined about 2 percent, the first decline since 2013;
- For the second year in a row, more fatalities occurred in urban areas than rural areas;
- Combination trucks involved in fatal crashes increased 5.8 percent;
- Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased by 1.2 percent from 2016 to 2017; and
- The fatality rate per 100 million VMT decreased by 2.5 percent, from 1.19 in 2016 to 1.16 in 2017.
“Dangerous actions such as speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence are still putting many
Americans, their families and those they share the road with at risk,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi R. King. “Additionally, we must address the emerging trend of drug-impaired driving to ensure we are reducing traffic fatalities and keeping our roadways safe for the traveling public.”
The 1.8-percent decrease from 2016 to 2017 compares to the 6.5 percent increase from 2015 to 2016 and the 8.4 percent increase from 2014 and 2015.