Facts & Figures

Facts & Figures

Traffic Fatality Rates

From 2000 to 2008, traffic fatalities totaled 377,604, or a yearly number of fatalities of 42,952. The annual number of fatalities adjusted for a yearly increase in drivers is essentially the same from 2000 to 2008. The injuries totaled 2,843,422. This means that 11 percent of all licensed drivers were injured in those eight years.

Impaired Driving Findings

Regardless of billions being spent on public education campaigns, impaired driving remained virtually constant from 1995 at 32.2% to 2008 at 31.6%. Deducting an average of 32% from the total fatality and injury rate reveals that 29,207 fatalities and 1,927,406 injuries per year had no relation to alcohol impaired motor vehicle operation. Other factors, one of which is impaired sight through the windshield, are contributors.

The Speed Limit Effect

The National Maximum Speed Law (NMSL) in the U. S. was a provision of the 1974 Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act that prohibited speed limits higher than 55 miles per hour. The NMSL was modified in 1987 and 1988 to allow speeds of up to 65 mph (105 km/h) limits on certain roads. Congress repealed the NMSL in 1995, fully restoring to the states the authority to determine the maximum speed limits for the state.

It is noteworthy that after 1995 (when the states reasserted pre-1974 speed limits and in some cases raised them), the fatality rate adjusted for the increase in driver population between 2000 and 2008 prior to deducting 32% for alcohol-impaired fatalities remained virtually unchanged. It is possible that speed limits may have less correlation to highway fatalities than has been suggested.

What has worked in the past to reduce fatalities?

The major safety improvements proven to reduce fatalities and injuries are seat belts, anti-lock brakes and air bags.