US traffic deaths fell 2% in 2019; 3rd straight yearly drop

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Cars in traffic (Photo: Tony Webster / CC BY-SA 2.0)

DETROIT (AP) — The government’s road safety agency says U.S. traffic deaths fell for the third straight year in 2019.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the downward trend is continuing into this year with people driving fewer miles due to the pandemic.

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The agency says traffic deaths fell 2% last year, to 36,096. That’s 739 fewer than the 36,835 deaths reported to the agency in 2019.

The decrease came even though vehicle miles traveled increased by nearly 1%, lowering the fatality rate to 1.1 per 100 million miles traveled. That was the lowest since 2014.

Estimates by the agency show that traffic deaths in the first half of this year fell 2% from the same period in 2019, to 16,550.