Motor vehicle traffic crashes killed 36,096 people in 2019, according to new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That’s a 2 percent decline from the 2018 figure and a continuation of a decades-long trend toward safer roads.
Traffic fatalities peaked in the late 1970s, with more than 50,000 people dying per year. Since then, annual deaths have generally been trending downwards.
Progress on road safety saw a brief reversal between 2014 and 2016, when fatalities rose from 32,744 to 37,806. But since then, the figure has declined three years in a row—though it’s still not below the record lows of the early 2010s.