Traffic Deaths Down in 2018; Much More Work Remains
Statement for attribution to Jonathan Adkins, GHSA Executive Director
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s announcement that 36,560 were killed in traffic crashes in 2018 indicates progress in our shared goal of zero deaths.
We are pleased to see a 2.4 percent drop in fatalities in 2018 and an estimated 3.4 percent dip in early 2019. A decline in 2019 would mark three straight years of fewer fatalities despite a strong economy, which typically correlates with increased traffic deaths. However, the only acceptable level of deaths is zero, and we will not rest until that is achieved.
GHSA is glad to note progress in reducing alcohol-related, speeding-related and motorcyclist fatalities in 2018. Nevertheless, we are alarmed by the notable increase in pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities, up 3.4 and 6.3 percent, respectively. GHSA leveraged preliminary state data earlier this year to predict that 2018 would see a historical surge in pedestrian deaths. GHSA’s annual Pedestrian Safety Spotlight described a number of contributing factors and promising strategies to counteract this alarming trend. There is no one solution to the rise in pedestrian deaths. Rather, a combination of engineering, enforcement and educational approaches are needed.
The tremendous investments made today in highway safety have been beneficial, but clearly not commensurate with the need. GHSA is committed to working with our partners in the federal government, advocacy community and at the state and local level to accelerate the momentum toward zero deaths on our nation’s roadways.
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The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.