September 09, 2010
In addition, 2009 saw the lowest national fatality and injury rates ever recorded: 1.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2009, compared to 1.26 deaths for 2008.
Nationally, fatalities declined in all categories of vehicles including motorcycles, which saw fatalities fall by 850 from 2008, breaking an 11-year cycle of annual increases.
The total fatalities in Alaska rose 3.2 percent in 2009. According to the United States Department of Transportation, Alaska had a total of 62 fatalities in 2008 with 33% of those being alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. In 2009, Alaska had 64 highway deaths with 31% of those being alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. In Alaska, alcohol impaired driving fatalities declined by 4.8 percent in 2009.
The National Transportation Safety Administration reported four fatalities in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough from 2005 - 2009 with 50% being alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.
According to information provided on the Alaska Highway Safety Office's website, in 2005 there were 4,049 non-fatal injury traffic crashes and 66 fatal crashes on Alaska's trafficways. 2006 saw an increase of fatal crashes to 71 but also a decrease in non-fatal injury crashes to 3,345. In 2007 the non-fatal injury traffic crashes dropped to 3,071, but the traffic-related fatality count increased to 82, with 75 fatal crashes. In 2008 the traffic-related fatality count dropped to 62, with 55 fatal crashes. In 2009 the traffic-related fatality count remained steady with 64 fatalities in 59 fatal crashes.
As part of the U.S. Transportation Department's campaign to reduce traffic fatalities, Secretary LaHood will convene a National Distracted Driving Summit on Sept. 21 in Washington, D.C. The Secretary will bring together leading transportation officials, safety advocates, law enforcement, industry representatives, researchers and victims affected by distraction-related crashes to address challenges and identify opportunities for national anti-distracted driving efforts. This follows the first summit Secretary LaHood held in the Fall of 2009 that sparked a national conversation about texting and talking on cell phones while driving.
"At the Department of Transportation, we are laser-focused on our top priority: safety," said Secretary LaHood. "Today's announcement shows that America's roads are the safest they've ever been. But they must be safer. And we will not rest until they are."
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study based on 2006 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 3 and 34.
In addition to the record-breaking drop in fatalities, the number of people injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2009 declined for a 10th straight year in a row, falling an estimated 5.5 percent from 2008, according to NHTSA data released today.
Nationally, alcohol impaired driving fatalities declined by 7.4 percent in 2009 10,839 compared to 11,711 reported in 2008. Overall, 33 states and Puerto Rico experienced a decline in the number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2009 compared to 2008.
"Today's numbers reflect the tangible benefits of record seat belt use and strong anti-drunk driving enforcement campaigns," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "But we are still losing more than 30,000 lives a year on our highways, and about a third of these involve drunk driving. We will continue to work with our state partners to strictly enforce both seat belt use and anti-drunk driving laws across this nation, every day and every night."
National highlights of the latest Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and related NHTSA data include the following:
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