Traffic deaths: Injuries, deaths drop in 2009

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WASHINGTON — In 2009, the rate of traffic deaths and injuries in the U.S. reached its lowest point in nearly 60 years, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Thursday.

Although Americans drove slightly more than in 2008, traffic deaths were down 9.7% in 2009 and at their lowest number since 1950. The number and rate of injuries were the lowest recorded since 1988, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration first began estimating injury data. Motorcycle fatalities also declined for the first time in 11 years.

Alcohol-related fatalities dropped 7.4%, but NHTSA Administrator David Strickland noted that drunk driving was still a factor in about one-third of the more than 30,000 traffic deaths each year.

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