Approximately 35,400 motor vehicle fatalities occurred in 2014, according to a preliminary estimate from the National Safety Council, and the year’s annual mileage death rate dropped to 1.18 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.

This estimated annual mileage death rate matches the lowest NSC preliminary estimate on record, the council said.

The 2014 estimate indicates an increase of fewer than 50 deaths compared to 2013. Crash injuries requiring medical attention are estimated at about 4.3 million, unchanged from 2013. The nearly stable number of motor vehicle deaths in the U.S. occurred during a period of economic expansion, with annual unemployment rates falling 16 percent and estimated mileage on national roads increasing 1.4 percent, NSC said.

“Every day, almost 100 people die in completely preventable crashes,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, NSC president and CEO. “We all need to make safer choices when it comes to speeding, impairment and distraction behind the wheel – lives depend on it.”

NSC offers the following driver safety tips:

  • Buckle up every trip – even when traveling short distances.
  • Refrain from all electronic device use – including hands-free devices– behind the wheel.
  • Secure children in size-appropriate restraints.
  • Do not drink and drive; impairment begins with the first drink. If you drink, designate a sober driver or take alternate transportation.
  • Plan ahead and drive defensively, especially during bad weather.
  • Never drive when tired. Get plenty of sleep before your trip and plan regular stops.

In addition to devastating human loss, car crashes present a significant national cost in lost wages and productivity, medical expenses, administrative expenses, employer costs and property damage. The estimated cost of motor vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage in 2014 was $288.9 billion, less than a half a percent increase from 2013, NSC said.  

To download the NSC research, click here.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet