In an analysis of fatal car crashes across the United States for the years 2009 to 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 19 states had an increase in fatalities. However, there were a total of 32,885 traffic deaths in 2010, which was actually a decrease of 2.9% overall from the 33,883 deaths which occurred in 2009. The biggest increase in auto fatalities was seen in Connecticut, where there was an increase of 42% with 224 deaths in 2009 and 319 in 2010. Connecticut officials claim that to form a correct determination, a study should be conducted over a 3-5 year period, because there was a 26% decrease in fatalities from 2008 to 2009 when the economy was at its worst with the onset of the recession.
Other states which had the largest increases in fatalities between 2009 and 2010 were in New Hampshire (16%); Wyoming (16%); Kansas (12%), and Indiana (8.8%). The states with the largest increase in fatal car crashes between 2009 and 2010 were Connecticut, with 95 more deaths, Michigan, with 70 more, Pennsylvania (68 ), Indiana (61) and Ohio with an increase of 58.
Thirty one states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico had reductions in the numbers of traffic deaths between 2009 and 2010. California had the most substantial decrease in fatalities, from 3,090 in 2009 to 2,715 in 2010, which was a 12% decrease. Interestingly, due to the volume of drivers in California as compared to the entire pool of drivers in the United States, California’s 12% drop in deaths accounted for 37% of the national decrease.
California’s 2,715 fatalities were the lowest in the state since 1944, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety. They attribute the substantial decrease to high visibility police enforcement, DWI checkpoints, public awareness programs, safer vehicles, improved road design, quicker EMS response and their statewide safety plan.
Deaths due to DWI decreased 4.9% nationwide in 2010 from 2009. There were 10,228 fatalities in 2010, which accounted for 31% of the overall nationwide deaths, a slight decrease from the 32% in 2009 when there were 10,759 alcohol related deaths in the United States.
Here in New York, the NHTSA study shows that there were 1,158 fatalities in 2009 and 1,200 in 2010, a 3.6% increase. Alcohol accounted for 318 deaths in 2009 and 364 in 2010, so that there was an increase from 27% to 30% of alcohol being the causative factors in road fatalities between 2009 and 2010 in New York.
From 2000 through 2010, fatal car accidents decreased in 47 states and Washington D.C., and increased in Delaware, Connecticut and Hawaii.