Driving is slightly safer, data show

January 5, 2009

By Staff

A national trend toward fewer traffic deaths in 2008 was expected to reach a record low for the year, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters.

Preliminary data in December showed nearly a 10 percent drop in fatalities for the first 10 months of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007, Peters said in a press release Dec. 11. She attributed the decline, in part, to the Department of Transportation’s emphasis on safety.

Besides the lower number of deaths overall, the department also reported fewer deaths per 100 million miles traveled during the first nine months of 2008. That figure dropped to 1.28 in 2008 compared to 1.37 in 2007.

Traffic accidents in the city of Issaquah are too few to show that kind of change, according to data from the Issaquah Police Department. Injury accidents, for example, totaled 76 in 2007 and 84 in 2008. But non-injury accidents dropped from 528 in 2007 to 476 the following year.

Fatal accidents are extremely rare in Issaquah. Just one occurred in 2007, and none in 2008.

For King County overall, figures released Dec. 31, 2008, show fewer traffic fatalities for 2007 compared to 2006. No data was reported for 2008.

County traffic deaths dropped from 221 in 2006 to 170 in 2007. A spokeswoman for Public Health – Seattle & King County said there is no clear reason for the decline, but safety programs and police patrols for drunk drivers probably helped.

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