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NHTSA estimates decrease of ~1% in traffic fatalities in 2018; pedestrian and cyclist fatalities up

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistical projection of traffic fatalities for 2018 shows that an estimated 36,750 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents a slight decrease of about 1.0% as compared to the 37,133 fatalities that were reported to have occurred in 2017.

Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2018 increased by about 12.2 billion miles, or about a 0.4% increase.

The fatality rate for 2018 was 1.14 fatalities per 100 million VMT, down from 1.16 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2017. The fourth quarter of 2018 represents the seventh consecutive quarter with year-to-year decreases in fatalities and the fatality rate.

NHTSA’s Argonne National Laboratoryaysis suggests slight decreases in driver, passenger, and motorcyclist deaths for the US in 2018 as compared to 2017. However, fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck, pedestrian fatalities, and pedalcyclist fatalities are projected to increase by 3, 4, and 10%, respectively.

Older drivers (65+) involved in fatal crashes also saw a slight increase.

The fatality counts for 2017 and 2018 and the ensuing percentage change from 2017 to 2018 will be further revised as the final file for 2017 and the annual reporting file for 2018 are available later this year. These estimates may be further refined when the projections for the first quarter of 2019 are released in late spring of 2019.

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