Last year saw a small reduction in deaths on US roads for the second consecutive year, but the National Safety Council says more still needs to be done.

According to preliminary estimates released by the organization, 38,800 people lost their lives to car crashes last year – a two percent decline from 2018 (39,404 deaths) and a four percent decline from 2017 (40,231 deaths). There were 4.4 million people injured seriously enough to require medical attention in crashes last year – also a two percent decrease over 2018 figures.

“Thirty-eight thousand deaths are still unacceptable, even if it is fewer than in years past,” said Lorraine M Martin, NSC president and CEO.

“We are encouraged by the actions so many organizations are taking to reduce deaths, and we applaud legislation that curtails common crash causes such as impairment, distraction and speed. But as a nation, we still need to demonstrate better commitment to saving lives. Roadway deaths can be prevented by doubling down on what works, embracing technology advancements and creating a culture of safer driving.”

To help ensure safer roads, NSC urges motorists to:

  • Practice defensive driving; buckle up, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation, get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and drive attentively, avoiding distractions
  • Recognize the dangers of drugged driving, including impairment from opioids
  • Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits; visit
  • Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them; visit
  • Fix recalls immediately; visit to ensure your vehicle does not have an open recall
  • Join Road to Zero to understand how safety professionals are addressing motor vehicle fatalities; visit to get involved