Fatal Car Crashes Fell 2% in 2017; 2018 Appears to Follow Trend

Final U.S. highway fatality numbers for 2017 are down following two consecutive years of large increases. In addition, preliminary estimates for the first six months of 2018 appear to show that this downward trend continues into this year.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, a decrease of almost 2 percent from 2016. The full 2017 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data set reveals other numbers:

“Dangerous actions such as speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence are still putting many Americans, their families and those they share the road with at risk,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi R. King. “Additionally, we must address the emerging trend of drug-impaired driving to ensure we are reducing traffic fatalities and keeping our roadways safe for the traveling public.”

The 1.8-percent decrease from 2016 to 2017 compares to the 6.5-percent increase from 2015 to 2016 and the 8.4-percent increase from 2014 and 2015.