Traffic Deaths Down 3.1 Percent in 2013

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Fatalities from traffic accidents decreased 3.1 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to a traffic fatality report issued today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In total, 32,719 Americans died in traffic accidents in 2013. That’s down from 2012’s 33,782 — a figure that’s been adjusted since NHTSA released it more than a year ago. In 2013, about two-thirds of fatalities (21,132) were occupants in passenger vehicles; the balance comes largely from commercial-vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

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The totals match a February 2014 estimate by the National Safety Council, but NHTSA typically issues the prior-year report near the end of each calendar year. Of note, traffic injuries (not deaths) also decreased 2.1 percent. Deaths from drunken and/or distracted driving both fell, though distracted-driving injuries increased. Finally, the rate of deaths — 1.10 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2013, versus 1.14 deaths in 2012 — also decreased. That’s a historic low, NHTSA says.

Still, the nation’s 4,735 pedestrian fatalities are 15 percent higher than 2009’s record low, and pedal cyclists (anyone riding a bicycle, tricycle, etc.) increased 1.2 percent to a seven-year high.

Want more? Click here to read NHTSA’s full report.

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