By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

U.S. traffic fatalities in 2018 declined 2.4 percent from 2017, or 913 fewer deaths, according to Oct. 22 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled also decreased by 3.4 percent (from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018), the lowest fatality rate since 2014.

NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens attributed the lower fatalities to advanced vehicle technology to prevent or reduce the severity of crashes, and greater use of seat belts, plus public awareness campaigns to slow speeding and cut the number of impaired or distracted drivers on the roads.

The 2018 figures, however, include a 3.4 percent increase in pedestrian deaths (to 6,283), and 6.3 percent rise in cyclist fatalities (to 857).

In addition to the 2018 numbers, NHTSA also released initial estimates for the first half of 2019, which show a 3.4 percent decline from the same period in 2018, or 589 fewer fatalities.

View the 2018 overview report, with links to detailed data.