- Photo: Wikimedia Commons. 

Photo: Wikimedia Commons. 

Traffic fatalities decreased by an estimated 1.2% last year compared to 2018, according to a report from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The report found a statistical projection that showed 36,120 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2019 compared to the 36,560 that were reported for 2018. The report also found that vehicle miles traveled increased in 2019 by roughly 1%, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The fatality rate for 2019 was 1.10 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, down from 1.13 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2018.

However, estimates also found that large truck fatalities increased. Defined as having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds, large trucks accounted for a 1% increase in fatalities in crashes involving these vehicles.

When broken down, there were decreased seen in driver (down 3%), passenger (down 4%), motorcyclist (down 1%), pedestrian (down 2%), and pedalcyclist (down 3%) deaths in the U.S. in 2019 as compared to 2018, according to NHTSA data. Estimates for 2019 may be further refined when the projections for the first quarter of 2020 are released.

Region-wise, the only area that reported an increase in traffic fatalities in 2019 compared to 2018 were parts of the southeast, which includes Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, which was up by 2%.

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