NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Child Auto Deaths Hit New Low

April 23, 2002

The number of children killed in car crashes last year was the lowest since the government started keeping traffic death statistics 36 years ago, a preliminary report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals.

Officials pointed out that many states have passed tougher laws requiring that children be belted or ride in safety seats. And several major automakers have developed programs to educate parents about the proper use of restraints.

  • Last year, 2,658 children under 16 years of age died in auto accidents -- down 5.4 percent from the previous record low of 2,811, set in 2000.
  • The overall number of traffic fatalities dropped slightly -- but motorcycle fatalities rose for the fourth consecutive year to the highest number in 11 years.
  • Alcohol-related deaths remained unchanged at 40 percent of all fatalities.

Source: Associated Press, "Number of Children Killed in Car Crashes Drops to Record Low," Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2002; based on "2001 Early Assessment: Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Fatality and Injury Estimates for 2001," April 2002, National Center for Statistics and Analysis, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


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