Washington, D.C. – The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that the number of people who died on U.S. roads last year dropped to historically low levels. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters said that in 2007, the overall number of traffic fatalities fell to 41,059, the lowest number since 1994. In addition, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles travelled was 1.37, the lowest fataility rate on record, and that 2.49 million people were injured in highway crashes last year, the lowest seen since NHTSA began collecting injury data in 1988.

“Thanks to safer vehicles, aggressive law enforcement and our efforts, countless families were spared the devastating news that a loved one was not coming home last year,” Peters said. “You can be sure that we’re not stopping here; the quest is not over until that bottom line number is zero.”

She noted that motorcycle safety continues to be a problem, with motorcycle fatalities accounting for 13 per cent of all fatalities. In 2007 alone, the number of motorcycle riders or passengers killed on the nation’s roads increased 6.6 per cent over the previous year.

The department has also kicked off its annual impaired driving enforcement crackdown, which runs through Labour Day.

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