U.S. sees drop in highway fatality rate

| Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The U.S. recorded a notable decline in its highway fatality rate last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Even though more than 42,000 people were killed on highways, the 2-percent drop from 2005 was the largest year-to-year decline in 15 years.

And while large truck fatalities remained virtually the same from 2005 to 2006, truck-related injuries declined by 15 percent.

However, the NHTSA report, which was released Monday, July 23, showed motorcycle rider fatalities continued their nine-year increase, reaching 4,810 in 2006.

“Motorcycle rider fatalities now account for 11 percent of total fatalities, exceeding the number of pedestrian fatalities for the first time since NHTSA began collecting fatal motor vehicle crash data in 1975,” stated a summary of the NHTSA report.

Transportation Secretary Mary Peters attributes the overall drop in deaths and injuries to tougher safety requirements and improved technologies in cars and trucks.

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