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Highway deaths fall to lowest level since 1949

Apr 1, 2011 4:18:00 AM - thestate.com
Highway deaths have plummeted to their lowest levels in more than 60 years, helped by more people wearing seat belts, better safety equipment in cars and efforts to curb drunken driving.

The Transportation Department estimated Friday that 32,788 people were killed on U.S. roads in 2010, a decrease of about 3 percent from 2009. It's the fewest number of deaths since 1949 - during the presidency of Harry Truman - when more than 30,000 people were killed.

The Pacific Northwest region, which includes Washington state, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, saw fatalities fall 12 percent. Western states including Arizona, California and Hawaii also posted large declines.

Government officials said the number of deaths was still significant but credited efforts on multiple fronts to make roadways safer.

"Too many of our friends and neighbors are killed in preventable roadway tragedies every day," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We will continue doing everything possible to make cars safer, increase seat belt use, put a stop to drunk driving and distracted driving and encourage drivers to put safety first."

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)