According to a preliminary report published on Aug. 22 by the National Safety Council, U.S. motor vehicle deaths were down 3 percent through the first half of the year. This news could mean a decline in the four-year upward trend in motor vehicle deaths, with road fatalities projected to dip below 40,000 for the first time since 2015.
On top of that, Nevada ranked fourth in the nation among all states for the largest percentage decrease in roadway fatalities, with a 22 percent reduction in fatalities compared to the first six months of 2018. Nevada was only one of five states to have a percentage decrease of over 20 percent and one of 16 states to have a decrease of over 10 percent. Numerically, Nevada ranked eighth for the largest decrease in roadway fatalities, with 36 less deaths in 2019.
Despite this promising news, drivers still face the same fatality risk this year as they did in 2018. The estimated annual rates of deaths per miles driven has remained unchanged, with the National Safety Council estimating approximately 1.2 deaths per million vehicle miles traveled. This indicates that while there has been a small improvement, more work is needed to decrease fatalities on a more substantial level.
Lorraine M. Martin, CEO and President of the National Safety Council, commented on the new traffic fatality estimates, saying that “while the numbers indicate a slight improvement, the rate of deaths remains stagnant, and 18,580 deaths so far this year is unacceptable. We cannot accept death as the price of mobility. We urge all drivers to slow down, buckle up, pay attention and drive defensively.”
Steve is the Managing Shareholder of Steven J. Klearman & Associates, a civil litigation law firm located in Reno, Nevada. He practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation and injury law, and has authored one of the definitive guides to Nevada civil law that is widely used by Nevada judges and attorneys, his book entitled Elements of Nevada Legal Theories.