Since  records of the “rate of traffic fatalities” have been kept, 2009 has recorded the lowest rate ever! “Fatality rate” involves the number of traffic fatalities combined with the number of miles traveled.

In just the last year alone, there was an 8.9% in the number of deaths reported:  37,261 in 2008 and 33,963 in 2009.  The “rate” of deaths in 2008 was 1.25 per “100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT); in 2009 it was 1.16 per VMT–again, the lowest ever recorded!

Why the decline? According t the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is due to a combination of factors including the increased  use of seat belts prompted  by national campaigns to promote seat belt use, and campaigns to reduce drunk driving and distracted driving (which involve the use of cell phones for calls and texting). In addition to these items indicated by David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator, we should also look  to the increased presence of collision avoidance devices appearing in automobiles.