The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released its study on motor vehicle-related fatalities for 2010, which numbered 32,885. The IIHS reports that’s the lowest number since 1949 (with 30,246 deaths reported), despite the increase in population and motor vehicles on the road.
The IIHS analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which began in 1975 and breaks data down into sections including trends, age and gender, seat belt use, speeding, and when the deaths occurred. According to FARS, males aged 85 years old and higher had the highest rate of deaths in 2010, with 31.2 deaths per 100,000 people. Next up were males 20-24 years old (27.5 deaths per 100,000), followed by males aged 80-84 (23.1). Females 80-84 years of age died at a rate of 13.2 per 100,000 people in 2010, followed by 85+ (12.8), and those aged 75-79 (10.7).
The FARS report also breaks down deaths by type, which include passenger vehicle occupants, pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and large truck occupants. Since 1975, all deaths by type have been reduced by about 50 percent or more except for motorcyclists, which remains at 1.4 deaths per 100,000 people.
The list of safety technology in vehicles continues to grow, but seat belts are still considered one of the most important life savers in an accident. According to the IIHS, seat belt usage among drivers is up to 85 percent for front seat occupants and 74 percent for rear seat occupants. Other statistics found in the study: deaths related to speeding have remained steady at 31-32 percent from 1991-2010. February was the safest month in 2010, while 51 percent of crash deaths occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.