The National Safety Council (NSC) reports approximately 34,700 motor vehicle fatalities occurred in 2010, a 3% decline from 2009 and the fourth consecutive year fatalities have dropped.

NSC believes improved safety features in vehicles, and greater visibility and enforcement of traffic safety laws: including those related to child passengers, safety belt use, distracted driving, impaired driving and teen driving: contributed to the decrease. However, it may also be partly a result of the poor economy. Fourth-quarter 2010 data reflected a slight increase in fatalities, and NSC fears as the economy continues to rebound and more miles are traveled, fatalities may rise again.

As encouraging as it is to see fatalities decreasing on our nation's roads, says NSC, the 2010 rate of decrease is less than a third of the previous year's decrease. We must remain vigilant in addressing roadway safety issues where we can have the greatest impact, such as distracted and teen driving.

In addition to serious human loss, motor vehicle crashes present a significant national cost in lost wages and productivity, medical expenses, administrative expenses, and property damage. The estimated cost in 2010 was $236.6 billion, a 3% decrease from 2009.

For more information: www.nsc.org/Documents/NOV10T2b.pdf