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Traffic deaths fall to lowest number since 1950

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Traffic deaths fall to lowest number since 1950

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington -- The Obama administration is expected to announce today that traffic deaths fell to under 34,000 in 2009, the lowest number since 1950.

Last year's traffic deaths fell by 9.2 percent to 33,808, down from 37,261 in 2008.

Michigan's traffic deaths fell to 871 in 2009, an 11 percent decline and the lowest number of deaths the state has recorded since 1924, when there were 863 traffic fatalities. A decade earlier, 1,386 people died on Michigan roadways.

At the same time, there are 10 times as many cars on Michigan roads than in 1924.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland are to make the announcement this morning at the department's headquarters, along with the news that deaths fell in 41 states and Washington, D.C., in 2009.

The Federal Highway Administration reported that travel rose by 0.2 percent -- 6.6 billion vehicle miles -- last year to 2.9 billion miles traveled.

Showing a decrease were motorcycle deaths, which have been rising over the last decade. Fatalities fell 16 percent in 2009, the first reduction in more than a decade.

Department officials declined to comment ahead of the news conference.

As recently as 2005, 43,510 people died on the nation's highways, the highest number since 1990. In 2008, road deaths were the lowest since 1961.

NHTSA noted in June in an in-depth research report that progress is being made in reducing deaths among younger drivers and child passengers. The report found a 17 percent decline from 2007 to 2008 in crash fatalities involving young drivers age 16-24. Child fatalities -- under 16 years old -- decreased about 20 percent.

In comparison, deaths in crashes involving drivers age 25-44 decreased about 11 percent; for those between 45-64 years old deaths decreased about 10 percent; and for those 65 years and older deaths decreased about 7 percent.

The report also noted declines in deaths:

• In multiple-vehicle crashes: about 13 percent

• Involving large trucks: about 12 percent

• That occurred during the weekend: about 11 percent

• In vehicles that rolled over in multiple-vehicle crashes: 19 percent

The new fatality numbers come as NHTSA has taken a much harder line with automakers in demanding faster action on automobile recalls in the wake of concerns about sudden acceleration in Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles.

The numbers may also fuel opposition to auto safety legislation before Congress.

Automakers have raised concerns about a measure that, in addition to granting NHTSA more power in recalls, would hike fines on automakers and impose a small new-vehicle fee to pay for stepped up federal enforcement of auto safety laws.

Traffic deaths and crashes still exact huge costs: In 2008, 10.1 million vehicles were involved in crashes reported to police that injured 2.4 million people.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that traffic crashes cost society more than $99 billion annually.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100909/AUTO01/9090432/1148/auto01/Traffic-deaths-fall-to-lowest-number-since-1950#ixzz0z2SqSECr

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Well of course there were less fatalities in Michigan... most fatalities probably happened in the Carolinas or somewhere else that all ex-Michiganders have moved to in the last 5 years.

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By Drew Johnson

Continuing a downward trend that started in 2008, the Obama administration is expected to announce later today that traffic deaths in 2009 fell to a 60-year low.

According to preliminary reports, traffic deaths fell by 9.2 percent in 2009, totaling 33,808. That figure is down from the 37,261 road deaths in 2008 and is the lowest level record since 1950.

Moreover, traffic deaths were down pretty much across the board, with 41 states and Washington D.C. reporting fewer highway deaths in 2009 than the year prior – despite U.S. travel increasing by 0.2 percent during the same period. Motorcycle deaths also saw their first decline in over 10 years, falling by a significant 16 percent.

Traffic deaths most recently spiked to a high of 43,510 in 2010, which was the highest level since 1990. The economic collapse helped traffic deaths fall to 1961 levels in 2008, with that trend continuing through 2009.



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Just goes to show you that automotive technology can circumvent idiot drivers!

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