The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released its 2013 data on traffic deaths, revealing an improvement from the prior year. Nationally, 32,719 people died in crashes in 2013, a 3.1 decrease from 2012 (33,782 fatalities).
The data is consistent with a trend of fewer traffic deaths that spans at least a decade, leading many people to ask, "What is responsible for the fewer traffic deaths?"
There is not one answer, but a series. Here are some of the biggest difference-makers in traffic safety:
- Better-built automobiles with higher crash protection
- Evolving safety technology (airbags, ABS, rearview cameras)
- Awareness campaigns (drunk driving, distracted driving)
The news isn't entirely good, the total number of crashes (including nonfatal) increased. Also, the number of bicyclist fatalities increased to 743 in 2013, an increase of nine. Some attribute that statistic to an increase in cyclists on U.S. roads, but it is still a negative on a DOT report.
Here is a look at some other interesting 2013 traffic fatality statistics:
- Alcohol-related fatalities decreased 2.5 percent from 2012
- Alcohol-related motorcycle deaths decreased by 8.3 percent
- Motorcycle fatalities in the 50-to-69 age group fell by 60 percent
- Non-fatal crashes increased by 1.3 percent
- Fatal crashes without seatbelts decreased 6.8 percent
Officials are generally pleased with the newest Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) report, but insist they are not satisfied. The rise of smartphones presents a serious threat to accident prevention that will likely only increase in the coming years.
If you or someone you know was recently harmed in a motor vehicle accident, visit our Vehicle Accidents Page, here.