NSC Statement on NHTSA Motor Vehicle Fatality Estimates for 2019

The data is encouraging, but higher speeds, serious traffic crashes and fatalities continue.

May 06, 2020

Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council is encouraged by preliminary estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicating a 1.2% decrease in motor vehicle deaths in 2019 compared to 2018, a trend in line with the data tracked by NSC. Should the estimate of 36,120 motor vehicle deaths last year hold, 2019 would be the third consecutive year such deaths have slightly declined.

While we are heading in the right direction, more work needs to be done to ensure safety on our roadways. This includes doubling down on proven, evidence-based actions known to save lives, such as seat belt use and not driving impaired, and advancing life-saving technology in vehicles, such as automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning. We also must prioritize and further develop a positive safety culture through awareness, education and constant reinforcement.

In addition, as the country contends with the COVID-19 pandemic, higher speeds, serious traffic crashes and fatalities continue to occur throughout the U.S., even while the volume of drivers on the road is low. NSC reminds motorists and all other road users, including pedestrians and bicyclists, to commute safely – not only to protect themselves, but also to allow our medical workers to focus on coronavirus patients, rather than assisting those involved in preventable roadway incidents.

Any drop in motor vehicle deaths should be well received but the ultimate goal we need to reach is zero.

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact.

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With a century-long legacy, the National Safety Council is a global center for safety expertise. Let's work together to align resources. We look forward to learning about ways we can join efforts to expand safety everywhere!

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