Drunk driving fatalities decreased in 2017
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the latest available traffic fatality statistics for 2017 which showed a decrease in the overall number of people killed on our nation’s roadways. According to NHTSA, 37,133 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, a decrease 1.8 percent from 37,806 in 2016.
In 2017, drunk driving fatalities decreased nationally and in 26 states; the noted decrease comes after two consecutive years of increases. The number of drunk driving fatalities decreased 1.1 percent from 10,996 in 2016 to 10,874 in 2017. Drunk driving fatalities accounted for 29 percent of all traffic fatalities, the lowest proportion of overall traffic fatalities since record-keeping began in 1982. The long-term trend continues to show downward movement, with drunk driving fatalities declining 7 percent over the past decade and 48 percent since record-keeping began in 1982.
The number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased 1.2 percent in 2017 and resulted in a 1.16 fatality rate per 100 million VMT (a 2.5 percent decrease from 2016). Additionally, there were other human choice factors impacting motor vehicle fatalities. In 2017, speeding accounting for 26 percent of total fatal crashes, distracted driving (nearly 9 percent), and drowsy driving (two percent). Though the 2017 numbers are not yet available, the 2016 data and NHTSA’s latest most recent National Roadside Survey both showed a significant increase in drug-impaired driving.
Any life lost in a traffic fatality is one too many especially due to preventable human choices behind the wheel. These latest statistics remind us there is still more work to be done to keep our roads free from impaired drivers. Responsibility.org remains committed to leading efforts to eliminate drunk driving and working with others to address other forms of impaired driving, together we can #EndImpairedDriving.