U.S. traffic fatalities dropped for the third year in a row, according to latest statistics.

Preliminary estimates from The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2019 showed that an estimated 36,120 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year – an estimated decrease of about 440, down 1.2 percent, from the reported 36,560 fatalities in 2018.

The figures are despite an increase in vehicle miles traveled of just under one percent last year and show a continuing decline in traffic related deaths since 2017.

The number of people killed decreased in most traffic safety categories including:

  • Drivers (down three percent)
  • Passengers (down four percent)
  • Motorcyclists (down one percent)
  • Pedestrians (down two percent)
  • Pedalcyclists (down three percent)

However, fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck are projected to have increased slightly by one percent.

“Safety is our top priority so this report that traffic fatalities appear to have decreased again for the third year is great news,” said US Transportation Secretary Elaine L Chao.

The early estimates can be viewed here: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812946.

Final figures for 2019 will be available at the end of the year.