Annual traffic deaths have gradually declined since peaking at more than 56,000 in 1972. However, they have averaged about 40,500 per year since 2000.

Source: “Historical Fatality Trends: Car Crash Deaths and Rates,” National Safety Council, 2019, https://tinyurl.com/y7rra2xo

Data for the graphic are as follows:

Year Number of Vehicle Fatalities
1940 34,501
1941 39,969
1942 28,309
1943 23,823
1944 24,282
1945 28,076
1946 33,411
1947 32,697
1948 32,259
1949 31,701
1950 34,763
1951 36,996
1952 37,794
1953 37,956
1954 35,586
1955 38,426
1956 39,628
1957 38,702
1958 36,981
1959 37,910
1960 38,137
1961 38,091
1962 40,804
1963 43,564
1964 47,700
1965 49,163
1966 53,041
1967 52,924
1968 54,862
1969 55,791
1970 54,633
1971 54,381
1972 56,278
1973 55,511
1974 46,402
1975 45,853
1976 47,038
1977 49,510
1978 52,411
1979 53,524
1980 53,172
1981 51,385
1982 45,779
1983 44,452
1984 46,263
1985 45,901
1986 47,865
1987 48,290
1988 49,078
1989 47,575
1990 46,814
1991 43,536
1992 40,982
1993 41,893
1994 42,524
1995 43,363
1996 43,649
1997 43,458
1998 43,501
1999 42,401
2000 43,354
2001 43,788
2002 45,380
2003 44,757
2004 44,933
2005 45,343
2006 45,316
2007 43,945
2008 39,790
2009 36,216
2010 35,332
2011 35,303
2012 36,415
2013 35,369
2014 35,398
2015 37,757
2016 40,327
2017 40,231

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