Highway Traffic Fatality Statistics

The number of vehicles on U.S. roads and highways and the average number of miles traveled by the those vehicles increased dramatically between 1982 and 2002.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that between 1982 and 2002:

  • The total number of vehicles increased 49%
  • The total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased 79%
  • The number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities dropped one-third (33%)
  • The number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities per vehicle miles traveled (VMT) dropped 63%.

These dramatic drops in alcohol-related traffic deaths demonstrate great progress in reducing the extent of the problem. However, each and every such needless death is a tragedy and we must do more to reduce the death rate even more.


  • Shankar, Umesh. Why are we not seeing a reduction in highway fatalities? Analysis of FARS and exposure data between 1982 and 2002. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, national Center for Statistics and Analysis, 2004. “FARS” is the Fatal Accident Reporting System.

Filed Under: Drinking and Driving