Though Traffic Fatalities Remain High, Dip Suggests Progress on the Road to Zero

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News Releases

October 3, 2018

CONTACT: Kara Macek, 202-789-0942 x140

Statement by Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Executive Director Jonathan Adkins

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that 37,133 people were killed on U.S. roadways in 2017, a 1.8% decrease from 2016. Historically, a strong economy and employment rate – as we have now – correlates with an increase in traffic deaths, so this drop, while small, is encouraging news.

Of course, zero is the only acceptable number of traffic deaths, and we still have a long way to go to achieve this. Behaviors like distraction, speeding, impairment, and lack of seat belt use pose persistent threats to safety, and we cannot let up in our efforts to combat these problems. As GHSA projected earlier this year, pedestrian fatalities remain at levels unseen in more than two decades, reinforcing the need to focus on protecting people on foot. This is a top priority for GHSA, reflected in our recently updated policy statements bolstering support for a comprehensive approach to both pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

We know that a combination of education, engineering, and enforcement holds the key to reducing highway fatalities. Implementing these proven countermeasures is a team effort: GHSA is proud to collaborate with its members and partners to tackle the toughest safety challenges, and continues to work closely with NHTSA to help states and communities deploy effective solutions. We are particularly appreciative of NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King’s focus on behavioral programs as well as technological solutions to reducing roadway deaths. We look forward to strengthening these and other efforts to maintain a sustained downward trend of roadway fatalities.

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About GHSA

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit Find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.