WASHINGTON, D.C. – Traffic deaths in the U.S. fell 2% last year to 36,096 fatalities, and there was no change in deaths involving large trucks.
That is according to preliminary data released Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
“Fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck showed relatively no change, decreasing from 5,006 in 2018 to 5,005 in 2019,” it said.
Large trucks include both commercial and non-commercial trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 pounds.
Despite the fall in fatalities, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased by nearly 1%, the agency said.
“As a result, the fatality rate for 2019 was 1.10 fatalities per 100 million VMT – the lowest rate since 2014.”
NHTSA also released preliminary fatality estimates for the first half of 2020.
“The second quarter of 2020, during the height of the Covid-19 public health emergency, showed a continued decline in overall traffic fatalities.”
It said an estimated 8,870 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the second quarter of 2020, a decrease of about 3.3% compared to the second quarter of 2019.
At the same time, at the height of the Covid-19 public health emergency, the total traffic volume decreased by more than 16% in the first six months of 2020.