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

DETROIT — Traffic deaths in the U.S. fell for the third consecutive year in 2019, the government’s road safety agency reported.

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

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

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

The agency says pedestrian deaths fell 2.7%, bicyclist fatalities dropped 2.9% and motorcycle deaths dropped 0.5%. Deaths in passenger vehicles fell 2.8%.

But deaths in crashes involving heavy trucks fell by just one, from 5,006 in 2018 to 5,005 last year.

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.