Based on an initial statistical analysis conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities “marginally declined” by a scant 0.1% in 2014 compared to 2013.
The agency said an estimated 32,675 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year compared to the 32,719 fatalities that occurred in 2013, accompanied by a sharp spike in fatalities in the fourth quarter of 2014 (up 5%) compared to declines of 3.9%, 0.2%, and 1.9% in the first, second, and third quarters, respectively.
Additionally, preliminary data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) indicates that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2014 increased by about 27.3 billion miles – some 0.9% – so the fatality rate for 2014 is projected to decrease slightly to 1.08 fatalities per 100 million VMT, down from 1.09 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2013.
NHTSA added that, over the last few years since recording a significant 11.8% increase in traffic fatalities during the first quarter of 2012, the magnitude of such increases steadily declined during each subsequent quarter.
Thus, beginning with the fourth quarter of 2012, the agency said traffic fatalities declined for eight consecutive quarters until the 5% increase estimated for the fourth quarter of 2014.