Fatal highway crashes down throughout much of 2019; DOT takes on impaired holiday driving

WASHINGTON (KFOR) – Highway crash fatalities in the United States are lower in the first nine months of 2019 than they were during the same time period in 2018, and the U.S. Department of Transportation is combating fatal crashes during the holidays.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced highway crash data on Friday.

The first nine months of 2019 show a 2.2 percent reduction in fatalities compared to the first nine months of 2018, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation news release.

“This is positive news, but more work remains to be done to make our roads safer for everyone,” Chao said.

An estimated 26,730 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes that occurred during the first nine months of 2019.

Now that the holiday season is here, the DOT is working with law enforcement agencies across the country to stop impaired drivers.

“Sadly, over 800 people lost their lives due to an impaired driver last December; that’s a lot of empty chairs around the dinner table,” Secretary Chao said in a video statement.

More than 10,000 people were killed on highways last year due to impaired driving, nearly a third of all highway traffic deaths in 2018, according to DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“All of these deaths could have been prevented,” Chao said. “So please make the right choice this holiday season. It can save your life and other precious lives on the road.”

Tens of thousands of law enforcement officers are on the lookout for impaired drivers this holiday season, and DOT started an $8 million media campaign that runs through Jan. 1, 2020, which includes a mix of advertisements on television, radio, cinema and social media.

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