According to preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council (NSC), motor vehicle deaths dipped by 1% in 2017 to 40,100 versus 40,327 in 2016. But the group said that “small decline” is not necessarily an indication of progress; rather it seems to be more of a “leveling off” in fatalities following the steepest two-year increase in over 50 years. That’s because the 40,100 fatalities for 2017 assessment is 6% higher than the number of deaths recorded for 2015, NSC, and if that estimate holds, it will be the second consecutive year that motor vehicle deaths topped 40,000.
NSC added that approximately 4.57 million people were seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, with the “costs to society” from those injuries in terms of hospitalization costs, vehicle and property damage, lost productivity, etc., totaling some $413.8 billion. Both figures are about 1% lower than 2016 calculations, the group added
Factors NSC believes are impacting motor vehicle fatality trends include a growing U.S. economy, which has helped fuel a 1% increase in miles driven from 2016 to 2017.
NSC collects fatality data every month from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics, so that deaths occurring within one year of the crash and on both public and private roadways – such as parking lots and driveways – are included in the estimates. It also noted that its estimates are subject to slight increases and decreases as the data mature.