For the first time in three years, the rate of Americans involved in deadly crashes has declined. This comes even as drivers added 50 million miles to their total mileage driven this year.
What’s causing these changes?
Fewer deaths and accidents
The study, published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), shows a decrease of over 600 fatalities from 2016 to 2017. America's fatality rate dropped to 1.16 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled in 2017. When the NHTSA first began tracking this number in 1975, it was 3.75.
Safety technology in new cars is one reason for decreased fatalities. Features like lane assist, automatic braking and smart cruise control are becoming standard in new cars. These technologies can prevent major accidents. New tech has created safer vehicles on the roads, driving the fatality rate down.
Attitudes around driving have also shifted. Thanks to public campaigns around seatbelts and DUI enforcement, people are driving safer. Awareness of what constitutes safe driving habits continues to rise.
Alaska’s results show improvements
In Alaska, we’ve seen fatalities drop from 84 to 79, a six percent decrease. Even better, alcohol-related driving fatalities have dropped at a rate of 26% (from 30 fatalities in 2016 to 22 in 2017).
The five states with the fewest fatalities (excluding District of Columbia) were:
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
As you can see, Alaska saw some of the fewest fatal crashes of any state. In fact, we came in second, behind only Vermont. Heavily-populated states like Florida, Texas and California were at the top for fatal car accidents.
Safer cars and drivers
This study shows motorists across the country are driving more safely. Impaired driving and driving without safety measures (like seatbelts) has gone down. Meanwhile, technology in our cars continues to improve, from blindside alerts to automatic braking. This all adds up to safer roads.
Unfortunately, while the rate of deadly crashes has gone down, auto accidents still impact the lives of thousands of people each year. If you find yourself in a car accident, an experienced attorney can help.