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Traffic fatalities fall to the lowest level ever

Posted: April 4, 2011 - 5:36PM
Author: Don Bain
Americans are driving more – roughly 21 billion more miles just last year. Despite more cars on the road logging more miles annually U.S. highway fatalities in 2010 dropped 3 percent from the previous year to the lowest levels in recorded history.


The fatality rate also dropped, to 1.09 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

"The hard numbers show that auto travel today is safer than ever before – not because of an economic slump, but because automakers have worked with other stakeholders to bring innovation to autos," said John Whatley, interim president and CEO of The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "Still, we have to remember that these aren't just numbers, these are lives, so automakers are continuing to advance technologies that will make the biggest impact on the traveling public."

Auto manufacturers have enhanced safety through the implementation of numerous new safety technologies such as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, side airbags, side curtain airbags, collision avoidance and more.

These innovations combined with an approach including the promotion of safety laws, enforcement and driver education were major factors in bringing traffic fatalities to this record setting low level.

In addition during the last 10 years, engineers have developed and introduced revolutionary safety technology like forward collision warning, automatic crash notification, lane departure warning, infra-red vision systems for pedestrian and animal detection, collision warning with brake support, blind spot detection and more.

Road safety is a responsibility we all share and traffic fatalities underscore why automakers and policymakers need to continue engineering innovation to advance auto safety.

"Our engineers are looking out even further into the future," added Whatley. "We are working to improve fuel economy while simultaneously adding these safety technologies for consumers. And we're partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and MADD to advance technology that keeps drunk drivers from even starting an auto. Additionally we're working with others to boost safety belt enforcement laws to primary enforcement laws."

The Alliance is a trade association of 12 automobile and light truck manufacturers including BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.