Highway deaths ticked down in 2018 but remain above 40,000, preliminary numbers show

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Preliminary numbers from the National Safety Council indicate the number of highway fatalities in the U.S. dropped by 1 percent in 2018.Preliminary numbers from the National Safety Council indicate the number of highway fatalities in the U.S. dropped by 1 percent in 2018.

The total number of highway deaths ticked down slightly in 2018 from 2017, but the number is estimated to remain above 40,000 for the third consecutive year, according to preliminary numbers from the National Safety Council.

NSC estimates 40,000 people lost their lives in crashes in 2018, a 1 percent decline from 2017 (40,231 deaths) and 2016 (40,327 deaths). The group also estimates approximately 4.5 million people were seriously injured in crashes last year – also a 1 percent decrease from 2017.

NSC’s numbers do not include specific crash data, such as how many of the highway deaths were as a result of a truck-involved crash. The data is drawn from monthly fatality reports from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The latest truck crash fatality data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that 4,761 people were killed in crashes involving trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds in 2017.

New Hampshire saw the largest year-over-year percentage increase in highway fatalities of 43 percent, increasing from 102 deaths to 146 deaths during the year. Other states that saw significant increases were Washington, D.C. (13 percent), Hawaii (9 percent), Nevada (9 percent) and Pennsylvania (9 percent).

California had the most highway fatalities in 2018, according to NSC’s numbers, with 3,651 deaths, followed by Texas with 3,597 fatalities and Florida with 3,325 fatalities.

Rhode Island had the largest year-over-year percentage decrease in highway fatalities of 30 percent, down from 84 deaths in 2017 to 59 deaths in 2018. Other states with significant decreases were Maine (26 percent), Kansas (13 percent), New Jersey (11 percent) and Wyoming (10 percent).

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