Auto and Traffic Safety Measures Have Reduced Injuries and Fatalities Says AIA

Even with Improvements, Drivers Cannot Be Too Careful this Holiday Weekend

WASHINGTON, DC, September 2, 2009 – A recent analysis of the latest government data by the American Insurance Association (AIA) shows that auto and traffic safety efforts over the past forty years have significantly reduced the number of accident-related injuries and fatalities.

Recently released federal highway data shows a continuing drop in motor vehicle fatality rates over the 40-year period from 1968 to 2008, as well as a decline in the motor vehicle traffic injury rate despite an increase in vehicle miles traveled. For example, Americans drove close to one trillion miles in 1968, compared to nearly 3 trillion in 2008. Over those four decades, the motor vehicle traffic fatality rate dropped from 5.19 deaths per-100 million vehicles miles traveled in 1968 to a record-low 1.27 deaths per-100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2008. Additionally, over the past 20 years the injury rate has dropped from 169 injuries per-100 million vehicle miles traveled in 1988 to 80 injuries per-100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2008. By examining the underlying rates rather than simply looking at the total number of deaths and injuries, these statistics take into account any fluctuations in vehicle miles traveled and show that improved safety measures are the leading cause for the pronounced reduction in fatalities and injuries.

AIA’s analysis goes a step further to highlight how the safety-promoting efforts of the insurance industry and other groups have made a critical difference. By looking at the current year vehicle miles traveled and using the fatality rate of historical years, AIA has estimated the amount of people that would have been killed or injured had there been no improvements at all in vehicle and traffic safety.

Even with these positive trends, drivers should always drive defensively. “As we head into Labor Day weekend, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, AIA urges drivers to take extra precautions when traveling to and from their destinations,” said David Snyder, AIA vice president and associate general counsel. “While we are encouraged by the significant improvements in auto safety and the overall decline in the rates of fatalities and injuries, accidents continue to happen. People can help reduce their risks of having an accident by making sure their cars are safe for travel prior to departure, by wearing safety belts at all times while the vehicle is in motion, and by refraining from the use of cell phones or other hand-held devices while driving.”

“The insurance industry has always been a strong advocate for safety measures when it comes to automobiles, roads and drivers,” said Snyder. “We will keep pressing the case for increased safety measures, better vehicle designs, seatbelt use, anti-drunk driving measures, graduated licensing, motorcycle helmet use, and electronic enforcement laws so that these fatality and injury rates continue to decline.”

A copy of AIA’s analysis can be found here:

About The American Insurance Association

The American Insurance Association represents approximately 350 major insurance companies that provide all lines of property and casualty insurance and write more than $123 billion annually in premiums. The association is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has representatives in every state. All AIA press releases are available at