The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has issued a report analyzing motor vehicle crash data for 2008. The good news: the number of vehicle crashes, deaths and injuries continue to decline.
From the report:
The number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is the primary exposure measure used when analyzing the occurrence of fatal motor vehicle crashes. VMT is collected by the Federal Highway Administration and in 2008 FHWA reported a decrease in VMT of almost 2 percent from that reported in 2007. This is the first reported decline in VMT since 1980. The number of motor vehicle crash fatalities per 100 million VMT was 1.25 in 2008, which is a decline of approximately 8 percent from the 2007 rate and is the lowest fatality rate per 100 million VMT ever recorded. The estimated number of people injured in crashes continued a long-term decline, dropping by 5.8 percent in 2008.
The VMT number is interesting, but the raw number of injuries and deaths is also down. Deaths decreased to 37,261 in 2008, down from 41,259 a year earlier. Injuries were down by 5.8%, with a total of 2,346,000 injuries in 2008.
Tennessee deaths were down 14.5%.
The report concludes that "the significant decline in fatalities in 2008 was driven by large decreases in crashes involving young drivers, multiple-vehicle crashes, and crashes occurring during weekends. Areas that experienced greater increases in unemployment rates also recorded higher decreases in fatalities. When areas are redefined to include buffer zones, fatalities in rural areas declined more significantly than the fatalities in the urban and suburban areas."
This is but a small portion of the material in this 38-page report. Read the entire report here.