- The Washington Times - Friday, December 19, 2014

It’s still a dangerous world, but at least the roads are getting safer.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Friday that traffic fatalities on U.S. roads fell by 3.1 percent in 2013, while the number of people injured in crashes also declined by 2.1 percent.

The number of deaths of occupants of passenger vehicles — cars, SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks — is now at its lowest level in records dating back to 1975.

The latest numbers confirm a long-term trend of fewer deaths on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The road fatality rate matched a historic low of 1.1 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, down from 1.14 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2014. The number of deaths attributed to drunk driving is also declining, falling 2.5 percent in 2013 to 10,076 — nearly a third of all traffic fatalities for the year.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx credited the “broad partnership of safety-driven individuals and organizations” that are working with public officials to improve road safety. The department earlier this week began its annual holiday “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, featuring this year a new mobile app for inebriated drivers seeking a safe ride home.

More than two-thirds of the states reported fewer traffic fatalities in 2013, led by Ohio (132 fewer deaths), Kentucky (down 108) and Pennsylvania (down 102). Overall, NHTSA figures show that 32,719 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2013, while pedestrian deaths also fell by 1.7 percent to 4,7435.

But with the growing popularity of bicycling and bike programs in major cities, the number of “pedalcyclist” fatalities rose 1.2 percent to the highest level in seven years.

The full report can be found at https://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812101.pdf

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