FHWA Mileage Adjustment Alters Some Fatality Rates

"We regularly review and assess all our data programs to ensure we are using the best available information," said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez. "This is a good example of how we're able to develop better ways of reporting critical information."

The Federal Highway Administration announced it has updated the way it calculates annual vehicle miles travelled (VMT) to make its data collection more accurate. Improved technology and better data collection methods in the states allowed this; FHWA said the change doesn't affect the number of fatalities recorded, but some fatality rates will change.

For example, VMT for light-duty passenger vehicles is lower, which results in a slightly higher fatality rate. VMT for motorcycles, buses, and large trucks are higher, resulting in lower fatality rates.

VMT is the number of miles vehicles travel over a given time period. It is used to measure traffic on America's roads and bridges and to calculate important statistics, including traffic fatalities, fuel efficiency, and air quality. FHWA said the new methodology doesn't affect how the federal gas tax is calculated, Highway Trust Fund revenue, or how FHWA distributes highway funds to states.

"We regularly review and assess all our data programs to ensure we are using the best available information," said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez. "This is a good example of how we're able to develop better ways of reporting critical information."

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