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Accident Rate Continues To Drop On US Roads
Despite more vehicles on the road than ever before, the number of accidents in the US continues to drop.

NHTSA report cover
America's roads growing safer, even as states push speed limits as high as 85 MPH. The US Department of Transportation last month counted 6.7 million accidents reported by police in 2018 -- a 2.4 percent drop even as the number of vehicles on the road surpassed the all-time record.

"New vehicles are safer than older ones and when crashes occur, more new vehicles are equipped with advanced technologies that prevent or reduce the severity of crashes," National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Acting Administrator James Owens explained in a statement.

In 2018, there were 1.13 fatalities for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled, compared to 1.17 in 2017 -- a 3.4 percent reduction. Preliminary 2019 numbers are even better, with a fatality rate of 1.06 posted for the first half of the year. Fatality figures are from the agency's fatality database, which contains the most reliable statistics. Numbers for injury and property damage accidents come from NHTSA's recently revamped crash sampling database that makes nationwide estimates based on a representative sampling of police reports. The system estimated 1.9 million injury crashes and 4.8 million property damage collisions, which combined with 33,654 fatalities for a total of 6.7 million incidents. Accidents that only result in property damage accounted for 71 percent of accidents.

"There was a statistically significant increase in property damage only crashes from 2017 to 2018," NHTSA's research note explained. "This increase is primarily related to changes in property damage reporting criteria at some data collection sites."

Several states stopped allowing police to report the estimated damage from a crash as "unknown," a change that results in more incidents being recorded as a reportable crash.

Figures from the NHTSA database also show that in 2018, there were 492 fatal rear end collisions at intersections in 2018. Supporters of red light cameras often downplay the seriousness of rear end collisions as "minor fender benders" since the use of automated enforcement is known to increase the number of rear end accidents (view studies). About 65,000 accidents nationwide involved buses.

A copy of the research note is available in a 3mb PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Police-Reported Motor Vehicle Traffic Crashes in 2018 (Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11/19/2019)



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