NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Road Deaths Lowest in Five Years

April 4, 2000

American motorists logged a record number of miles last year, but the number of fatalities dipped to its lowest level in five years, according to preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Figured on a per-mile-driven basis, death rates were the lowest for any year since the government began keeping statistics in 1966.

  • Overall, 41,345 people died in traffic accidents in 1999.
  • Americans drove more than 2.6 trillion miles last year -- for a fatality rate of 1.5 deaths per 100 million miles driven.
  • In 1966, the fatality rate was 5.5 deaths per 100 million miles driven.
  • The road fatality rate based on population also hit a record low of 15.2 deaths per 100,000 people.

At the same time that traffic deaths fell, seat belt use declined from 70 percent of occupants in 1998 to 67 percent last year.

Source: Scott Bowles, "Despite More Miles, Fewer Die on Roads," USA Today, April 4, 2000.


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