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After a new analysis of 2011's traffic fatality numbers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were even fewer deaths than previously reported: 32,367 are reported to have died on the road last year, a 1.9-percent drop compared to 2010. Previously the drop had been reported as 1.7 percent. Even more eye-popping, that number is down 26 percent compared to the number of deaths in 2005, and 2011 saw the the lowest number of fatalities since 1949.

We did drive less last year, but mileage decreased by only 1.2 percent so it can't account for all of the difference. On top of that, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles was 1.10, the lowest number ever reported. Looking more closely, there were more motorcyclist, pedestrian, cyclist and large-truck occupant deaths, and accidents attributed to distraction claimed more lives in 2011 than 2010. But drunk driving deaths and deaths in passenger cars and light trucks both declined.

The adjustment will make 2012's numbers go even further in the wrong direction. In the first quarter of this year road fatalities were up 13.5 percent compared to Q1 2011; the half-year number had come down but was still up nine percent. That's the largest half-year increase since such data started being gathered. You can read the NHTSA press release below with more information on last year's numbers.Continue reading NHTSA says 2011 traffic deaths declined nearly 2%, but on upswing in 2012

NHTSA says 2011 traffic deaths declined nearly 2%, but on upswing in 2012 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 12 Dec 2012 09:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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