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1/16/2013 - Highway fatalities reach 62-year low

Traffic deaths in 2012 were the lowest they’ve been in more than 60 years.

Traffic officials are for the most part pleased with a new report that shows automotive fatalities dipped considerably in 2011.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 32,367 highway deaths in 2011, a near 2% decline from the previous year and marking the lowest number recorded in more than 60 years.

David Strickland, administrator for the NHTSA, attributed the decline in traffic fatalities to the heightened safety enforcement efforts, as well as motorists becoming more aware of their own behaviors behind the wheel.

"In the past several decades, we've seen remarkable improvements in both the way motorists behave on our roadways and in the safety of the vehicles they drive, and we're confident that NHTSA's Five-Star Safety Ratings Program and nationwide collaborations like 'Click It or Ticket' and 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' have played a key role in making our roads safer."

One of the more recent safety initiatives underway by the traffic agency is "Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks." By detailing how risky it is to use one's cell phone at the wheel, officials are hopeful that it will lead to fewer auto insurance claims resulting from distracted driving.

According to a 2009 study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, a texting driver is 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident than someone who refrains from this behavior.

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