Fewest U.S. car accidents in more than half a century recorded in 2009

A total of 33,963 people died in traffic accidents nationwide during 2009 — the fewest traffic deaths since 1954, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

As previously reported on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog, the number of fatal Illinois traffic accidents and Chicago car accidents also declined to the lowest level in almost a century of reporting, from 1,043 deaths in 2008 to 928 deaths in 2009.

Many officials believe the downward trend in fatal car accidents can be explained by the poor economy and expect congestion and accidents to increase as the economy improves, according to a report we wrote about earlier this month here at Chicago Car Accident Lawyers blog.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that the total number of fatal traffic accidents in 2009 was the lowest recorded since 1954 — the number of fatal traffic accidents have now declined for the 15th straight quarter.

Preliminary estimates suggest the fatality rate, which records the number of fatal traffic accidents per vehicle mile traveled, may have reached the lowest level ever recorded.

“This is exciting news, but there are still far too many people dying in traffic accidents,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Drivers need to keep their hands on the steering wheel and their focus on the road in order to stay safe.”

The 33,963 traffic fatalities recorded last year represent an 8.9 percent drop compared to the 37,261 deaths reported in 2008.

“This continuing decline in highway deaths is encouraging, but our work is far from over,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland. “We want to see those numbers drop further. We will not stop as long as there are still lives lost on our nation’s highways.”

The federal government also cites as reason for the decrease several nationwide campaigns to encourage responsible driving, including Click It or Ticket and Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.

The federal government will release comprehensive statistics later this summer.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the Chicago car accident lawyers and the personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

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