Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2009: A Brief Statistical Summary
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Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2009: A Brief Statistical Summary

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  • Alternative Title:
    Traffic Safety Facts: Crash Stats
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  • Abstract:
    statistical projection of traffic fatalities in 2009 shows that an estimated 33,963 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents a decline of about 8.9 percent as compared to the 37,261 fatalities that occurred in 2008, as shown in Table 1. If these projections are realized, fatalities will be the lowest on record (since 1954). Also in 2009, fatalities declined by about 10.7 percent in the first quarter, declined by about 4.8 percent in the second quarter, declined by about 7.5 percent in the third quarter, and declined by about 12.7 percent in the fourth quarter, as compared to the respective quarters in 2008. The fourth quarter of 2009 will be the 15th consecutive quarter of declines in fatalities as compared to the same quarter from the previous year, as illustrated by the highlighted percentages in Table 1. 2009Traffic fatalities have been steadily declining since reaching a near-term peak in 2005, decreasing by about 22 percent from 2005 to 2009. Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2009 increased by about 6.6 billion miles, or about a 0.2-percent increase. On a quarterly basis, the VMT dropped by 1.6 percent during the first quarter and increased by 0.6 percent in the second quarter, increased by 1.7 percent in the third quarter, and increased by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter. Also shown in Table 1 are the fatality rates per 100 million VMT, by quarter and for the first three quarters. The fatality rate for 2009 declined to the lowest on record, to 1.16 fatalities per 100 million VMT, down from 1.25 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2008.
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