September 24, 2007

U.S. traffic fatalities declined to lowest number in five years in 2006, NHTSA says

Washington, D.C. – A new report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that the number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes declined by 2.0 per cent in 2006, to the lowest level in five years. It was the largest decline since 1992 in terms of number and percentage.

The number of people injured dropped below 2.6 million, a decline of 4.6 per cent, and the seventh year in a row that crash injuries declined. The motor vehicle fatality and injury rates per 100 million vehicle miles of travel also declined to all-time lows, with the fatality rate at 1.42, and injury rate at 86. The number of fatalities declined for children of all ages, with the largest decline in 8- to 15-year-olds.

Overall passenger vehicle occupant fatalities continued to decline, dropping for the fourth year in a row. Light-truck occupant fatalities dropped for the first time since 1992. Overall, by type of passenger vehicle, occupants killed and injured declined for all vehicle types, except SUVs. Fatalities in SUVs increased by 1.6 per cent, but among passenger vehicles, SUVs had the largest increase in registrations. The number of passenger vehicle occupants killed in vehicles that rolled over declined by 1.6 per cent, with vans of all types experiencing the largest decline, at 24 per cent; however, the number of fatalities in pickup trucks that rolled over increased by 1.6 per cent.

NHTSA reports that motorcycle rider fatalities continued to increase; 2006 was the ninth year in a row for an increase.

Of the passenger vehicle occupants killed, 55 percent were unrestrained, a proportion unchanged from 2005. Also essentially unchanged was the number of people killed in all alcohol-related crashes.

Overall, there were 868 fewer fatalities in 2006 than in 2005; contributing to the number is a decline of 1,028 in passenger vehicle occupant fatalities, a decline of 124 in non-occupant fatalities, and an increase of 234 motorcycle rider fatalities.

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