Statement on Estimated 2019 Motor Vehicle Crash Fatalities

  • May 5, 2020
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
CONTACT: Pete Daniels / / 301-442-2249 (C)


Statement of Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, On Estimated 2019 Motor Vehicle Crash Fatalities

An estimated 36,120 people killed in 2019 according to newly released data — Action to advance proven solutions is needed to address the persistently high crash death toll



The latest report on motor vehicle crash fatalities from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) must serve as a clarion call to action to advance proven solutions and reduce preventable deaths on our roadways.  With nearly 100 people killed each day in crashes, commonsense highway safety laws and crucial vehicle safety technology and improvements would be literal lifesavers.  Earlier this year, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) released the 17th edition of our annual Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws, “2020 Focus on Safety.”  The findings show critical gaps in states adopting laws requiring all passengers to wear seat belts, ensuring adequate protections for child passengers, establishing sensible restrictions on novice teen drivers, and implementing measures aimed at curbing impaired and distracted driving.

Additionally, numerous bills have been introduced in Congress which, if enacted, would accelerate significant reductions in traffic fatalities.  Technology currently available, including automatic emergency braking (AEB), has been shown to save lives and is recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).  AEB should be required in all new vehicles with minimum performance standards to ensure they operate safely and reliably.  AEB could curb a myriad of crash causes including those resulting from distraction, fatigue and impairment.  Further, with nearly one-third of all crash fatalities resulting from alcohol impairment, the installation of advanced alcohol-detection systems in all new cars could provide a technological solution to a leading killer on our roads.  Improvements for occupants including child passengers are also vital such as rear seat belt reminders, a detection and alert system for occupants unknowingly left in hot cars, as well as enhancements for school buses and limousines.

Despite a small decrease of approximately one percent in overall crash deaths, fatal crashes involving large trucks are estimated to have increased once again, the fifth year-to-year increase.  This underscores the need for key truck safety upgrades such as collision avoidance technology, underride protection and driver training requirements.

The safety solutions necessary to greatly reduce the carnage on our roadways are well-documented and well-known.  With tens of thousands of people still perishing each year, failing to act on this commonsense agenda is a cost that cannot be tolerated.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement, and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America’s roads safer.  Advocates’ mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.