Data accumulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and released last week by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) shows that of the 38,958 people who died in transportation-related accidents in 2017, 95% or 37,133 were the result of highway crashes.
The statistics show that 673 fewer people died in highway crashes in 2017, compared to 2016 when there were 37,806 fatalities. Crashes involving passenger cars, light trucks and vans, pedestrians, motorcycles, pedal cycles, and buses resulted in fewer fatalities in 2017, but deaths associated with crashes involving medium and heavy trucks increased to 841 in 2017 compared to 725 in 2016.
“Highway crashes are completely preventable,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. “Implementation of the 369 open NTSB highway safety recommendations, including the 22 recommendations related to speeding, has the potential to prevent crashes, save lives, and significantly reduce the carnage on our nation’s roads.”
The approaching Thanksgiving holiday weekend is typically the busiest travel weekend of the year in the United States and marks the start of the holiday travel season. The NTSB reminds travelers that speed, distracted, impaired and drowsy driving are key factors in highway fatalities.
The NTSB is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the U.S. and significant accidents in other modes of transportation, including railroad, highway, marine and pipeline. The agency, which has no rulemaking authority, determines the probable cause of the accidents and issues safety recommendations aimed at preventing future crashes.
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