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Newer Vehicles with Cutting-Edge Safety Features Are Helping Reduce Vehicle Fatalities Despite Increased Driving



Doug Greenhaus

Doug Greenhaus


The latest crash-related data from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) show a 2.4 percent decline in fatalities for 2018, the second year in a row with lower crash-related fatalities. The data, compiled by DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), shows 913 fewer crash-related fatalities in 2018, down to 36,560 people from 37,473 in 2017. Importantly, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) decreased by 3.4 percent (from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018), the lowest rate since 2014. In addition,

  • Fatalities among children (14 and younger) declined 10.3 percent;
  • Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities declined 3.6 percent;
  • Speeding-related fatalities declined 5.7 percent; and
  • Motorcyclist fatalities declined 4.7 percent.

NHTSA attributed the decline, in part, to the proliferation of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in the vehicle fleet.

“New vehicles are safer than older ones and when crashes occur, more new vehicles are equipped with advanced technologies that prevent or reduce the severity of crashes,” NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens said. “NHTSA has spent recent years partnering with state and local governments and safety advocates to urge the public to never drive impaired or distracted, to avoid excessive speed, and to always buckle up.”

“Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) on today’s new and late model used vehicles are clearly helping to improve road safety by assisting with critical driving tasks,” said NADA 2019 Chairman Charlie Gilchrist. “In the 2018 model year alone, nearly half of all new vehicles sold by franchised dealers had collision warning, collision mitigation, and blind spot monitoring. As illustrated by its recently published Dealer Guide to High-Tech Vehicle Safety, NADA is committed to assisting dealers to help customers understand and properly use these important new ADAS technologies.”

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