By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

U.S. motor vehicle deaths were 1 percent lower in the first six months of 2017 than the same period in 2016, according to estimates from the National Safety Council (NSC).

Motor vehicle deaths over the past two years have been the highest since 1964, and it is too early to conclude whether the trend is being reversed, NSC cautioned in an Aug. 15 release of the preliminary data.

An estimated 18,680 people have been killed on U.S. roads since January and 2.1 million were seriously injured. The total estimated cost of these deaths and injuries is $191 billion.

The estimated deaths during the first six months of 2017 still are 8 percent higher than the 2015 six-month estimates, and the final six months of the calendar year – July to December – tend to be deadlier than the first six, NSC said.