NSC Preliminary Estimates Show Motor Vehicle Deaths Plateaued in 2017

"The price we are paying for mobility is 40,000 lives each year," NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman said. "This is a stark reminder that our complacency is killing us. The only acceptable number is zero; we need to mobilize a full court press to improve roadway safety."

Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council indicate a small decline—1 percent—in motor vehicle deaths in 2017, with fatalities numbering 40,100 lives versus the 2016 fatality total of 40,327. If the estimate holds, it will mark the second consecutive year that motor vehicles totaled more than 40,000.

Approximately 4.57 million people were seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, with the costs to society totaling $413.8 billion. Both estimates are about 1 percent lower than 2016 calculations.

According to the council, the slight dip in fatalities indicates a leveling off of the steepest two-year increase in more than 50 years, as opposed to straight progress. The 2017 estimate is 6 percent higher than the number of deaths in 2015.

"The price we are paying for mobility is 40,000 lives each year," NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman said. "This is a stark reminder that our complacency is killing us. The only acceptable number is zero; we need to mobilize a full court press to improve roadway safety."

NSC collects fatality data each month from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics so that deaths occurring within one year of the crash and on both public and private roadways are included in estimates. All estimates of fatality trends are subject to slight increases and decreases as the data mature.

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