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Driver safety systems help cut U.S. road deaths

In a development that underscores the safety benefits of automotive Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS), 2009 was the least deadly year on American roads in nearly 60 years.

A recently released report from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that 33,808 people died from traffic accidents in the United States in 2009, representing a 9.7 percent decline in total road deaths over the previous year and the lowest number of deaths since 1950.

Fatalities declined for all categories of vehicle occupants and non-occupants, including motorcycles, which had previously seen a continuous 11-year increase, and pedestrians, who generally have no built-in protection system when colliding with a motor vehicle.

Surprisingly, these across-the-board decreases in fatalities occurred in a year when total Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) increased by 0.2 percent to just less than three trillion miles. The result is a historically low fatality and injury rate of 1.13 deaths per 100M VMT, the lowest ever recorded.

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