After a terrifying two years of rapidly increasing traffic-related fatalities, the number of people killed in traffic crashes in 2017 dropped 1.8 percent over 2016—but the NHTSA reports that 37,133 people still died, and numbers are still way up from where we were just a few years ago.
The NHTSA has dropped its annual report of traffic fatalities, and after a drastic 14 percent increase in fatalities from 2014 through 2016, reported deaths declined 1.8 percent from 2016 to 2017. The number of vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. increased by 1.2 percent, year over year, to 3.2 trillion miles.
Pedestrian deaths declined 1.7 percent from 2016 to 5,977, as did car, van, and pickup truck occupant deaths, motorcyclist deaths, alcohol-impaired deaths and speeding-related fatalities. Fatalities involving large commercial trucks and SUVs increased, however.
The report claims 8.5 percent of fatalities in 2017 were related to drugged or distracted driving, but reporting could be off. Though the overall decrease in fatalities is good, the Detroit Free Press reported that NHTSA officials flagged increases in drugged and distracted driving as a significant issues going forward, but reporting is difficult as drivers involved in those crashes often don’t report drug or device use to authorities.
You can check out the NHTSA’s full breakdown of 2017 fatalities on its website, and keep in mind you could kill a lot of people and yourself every time you get in a car, so be fucking careful.