The number of traffic crash deaths in the United States dropped 3 percent to 32,719 fatalities in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The number of passenger vehicle occupant deaths also dipped 3 percent to 21,132 in 2013, while drunken-driving accident fatalities dove 2.5 percent to 10,076.
Drunken-driving accounted for almost a third of all crash deaths in the US last year. The rate of fatalities in 2013 was also the lowest, matching the record in 2011 at 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The number of deaths from distracted-driving crashes dropped almost 7 percent to 3,154 fatalities last, while the number of injuries from such incidents surged 1 percent to 424,000.
NHTSA got the number from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which collects fatal-crash data from 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx remarked that the data shows that this is the “safest time to travel on America’s roads.”
NHTSA credited law enforcement, stricter regulation and advanced safety technology as the main factors for the decline in traffic accident deaths.
According to NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman, strong regulations and consumer information programs are driving progress in making vehicles safer and ensuring that they could protect passengers during a crash.
Carmakers have also invested huge money to develop and produce new safety technologies like automatic braking, electronic stability control and pre-crash warning systems. Friedman noted that NHTSA’s rule mandating electronic stability control as standard equipment in 2011 helped rollover deaths by 7 percent in 2013.