The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released its Fatal Analysis Reporting System figures for 2014, which show that traffic fatalities fell to a record low of 1.07 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. A total of 32,675 people died in motor vehicle crashes nationwide last year, which was a slight decrease from the 2013 total.
NHTSA’s research shows that in 94% of crashes resulting in a fatality, the critical cause was a human behavioral factor, including drunk, drugged, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding, and failure to use safety features (such as seatbelts and child seats).
Deaths related to drunk driving represent about 33% of all traffic fatalities. Approximately 50% of people killed in motor vehicle accidents were not wearing seat belts. Deaths by motorcyclists are far higher in states without strong helmet laws. And speeding was a factor in more than 25% of all deaths.
According to NHTSA, vehicle-related factors are the critical reason in about 2% of crashes. While any death caused by a manufacturer defect is unacceptable, the numbers don’t lie. Today’s vehicles are safer than ever before.