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DOT Releases Preliminary Estimates Of 2000 Highway Fatalities

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

DOT Releases Preliminary Estimates Of 2000 Highway Fatalities

March 29, 2001

NHTSA 18-01
Thursday, March 29, 2001
Contact: NHTSA, Rae Tyson, (202) 366-9550

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced that, according to preliminary estimates, traffic fatality rates increased in 2000 after hitting a record low the previous year. The percentage of alcohol-related deaths in 2000 remained steady at 38 percent, an all-time low.

The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles (VMT) was 1.6, up from the record low of 1.5 in 1999. The total number of people killed in highway crashes was up from 41,611 in 1999 to 41,800 in 2000. Though the percentage remained constant, the number of people who died in alcohol-related crashes increased from 15,786 in 1999 to 16,068 in 2000.

"These statistics underscore the challenges facing this country in highway safety," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. "Safety is an individual as well as government responsibility, and we must work together to improve it."

While overall fatalities were up, deaths of child passengers aged four and under dropped 2.3 percent from 555 in 1999 to 542 in 2000. Pedestrian deaths also declined from 4,906 in 1999 to 4,727 in 2000, a reduction of 3.6 percent.

According to NHTSA's early assessment of 2000 crash data, the number of people injured remained about the same at 3.2 million.

The 2000 statistics also reflect the risks vehicle occupants take when they do not wear seat belts: 61 percent of those killed in crashes last year were not belted.

"We've been saying it for years and it's still true: Using your seat belt can save your life," said Secretary Mineta.

NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) also shows that:

  • Motorcycle crashes killed 2,680 riders in 2000 compared to 2,472 in 1999, an increase of over eight percent.

  • Fatalities involving large truck crashes dropped from 5,362 in 1999 to 5,307 in 2000.

  • The number of young drivers (16-20) who died was up from 3,481 in 1999 to 3,570 in 2000.

  • Passenger vehicle deaths in rollover crashes declined from 10,133 to 10,108 in 2000. However, for occupants of sport utility vehicles (SUVs), rollover deaths increased 2.8 percent from 1,898 in 1999 to 1,951 in 2000.

    NHTSA annually collects crash statistics from 50 states and the District of Columbia to produce the annual report on traffic fatality trends. The final 2000 report, pending completion of data collection and quality control verification, will be available in July. Summaries of the preliminary report are available on the NHTSA website at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/


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