Washington, D.C. – The number of people killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. is expected to fall to a new low in 2008, with early projections showing a drop of almost 10 per cent during the first ten months of the year.

The announcement was made by U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters, who also outlined key safety benchmarks that have been achieved across all areas of transportation.

“Our focus on safety, from our highways, railways, seaways and airways, has led to one of the safest periods in our nation’s transportation history,” Peters said. “Every American can be more confident than ever they will arrive at their destination safe and sound.”

Peters said the new fatality data marks the first time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been able to project fatality figures prior to the end of the calendar year, using new electronic data-gathering techniques that allow projections in near real time.

Early estimates show that 31,110 people died on U.S. roads from January through October, compared to 34,502 in 2007 during the same ten-month period. In addition, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles travelled for the first nine months of 2008 is 1.28, compared to 1.37 for 2007.

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