Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council (NSC) indicate that the four-year upward trend in motor vehicle deaths that began in 2015 is moving in the opposite direction, with the number of fatalities in the first six months of 2019 dropping three percent compared to the same six-month period in 2018.

Between January and June of this year, an estimated 18,580 people died on US roadways. That’s a slight decrease from the estimate of 19,060 during the same period last year. An additional 2.1 million people are estimated to have sustained serious crash-related injuries during the first six months of 2018 – one percent decrease from 2018 six-month projections.

For the last three years, roadway deaths have exceeded 40,000 each year for the first time since the mid-2000s. Despite the slight decrease expected this year, NSC predicts that the fatality rate of 1.2 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled will remain unchanged from 2018 rates.

“While the numbers indicate a slight improvement, the rate of deaths remains stagnant, and 18,580 deaths so far this year is unacceptable,” said Lorraine M. Martin, NSC President and CEO. “We cannot accept death as the price of mobility. We urge all drivers to slow down, buckle up, pay attention and drive defensively.”

According to NSC, in the first half of this year several states have experienced at least a 10 percent drop in motor vehicle deaths, including Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma and Utah. A sample of states with increases through the first six months include Kentucky (six percent), Hawaii (20 percent), Oregon (six percent) and New Mexico (15 percent).

The full report and complete list of state results is available here.