Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation, publishes a comprehensive review of motor vehicle crashes that occurred throughout the nation. Called the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the report typically lags about a year behind. For example, the most recent FARS, published in December 2012, covers the year 2011. The 2012 FARS is expected to be finalized in the fall of this year.
The good news is that, in 2011, the United States experienced the lowest number of deaths in motor vehicle accidents since 1949. The 32,367 people killed in traffic accidents in 2011 also represent about a 2 percent drop from 2010.
However, the FARS for 2011 also revealed that:
• The number of fatalities of occupants and non-occupants in large commercial truck crashes increased about 20 percent from 2010 to 2011
• For single-vehicle large truck accidents, the death of occupants increased 19 percent. The deaths of occupants involved in multi-vehicle large truck accidents jumped 21 percent.
• The number of bicyclists killed in traffic accidents increased about 9 percent (8.7) in 2011 over 2010. The number of pedestrians who died in traffic accidents rose 3 percent.
• There were 3,331 people killed in distraction-affected motor vehicle crashes in 2011; about a 2 percent increase from the previous 12 months.
• In Missouri, one third of all peopled killed in traffic accidents in 2011 were in accidents that involved alcohol-impaired driving. In Illinois, 30 percent. The total for the entire country in 2011 was 31 percent.