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Motorcycle Fatalities Decline for the Third Year

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the “Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2019,” where the preliminary numbers show that motorcycle fatalities decreased 1% from 2018 to 2019. The early estimated from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows that 36,120 people died on our nation’s roadways in 2019.

Overall, this represents a 1.2% decrease from 2018, while Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) increased by 0.9% during this time. Fatalities decreased in most major traffic safety categories: Drivers (down 3%), Passengers (down 4%), Motorcyclists (down 1%), Pedestrians (down 2%), and Pedalcyclists (down 3%). You can download NHTSA’s full Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2019 here.

“Safety is our top priority so this report that traffic fatalities appear to have decreased again for the third year is great news,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. The U.S. DOT and NHTSA remain committed to reducing motor vehicle fatalities. In February 2020, NHTSA released over $562 million in grants for highway safety programs that were appropriated through the current Highway Authorization, known as the FAST ACT, to the Offices of Highway Safety in all fifty states and U.S. territories.

“We know that most of the 36,560 roadway fatalities in 2018 related to behavioral issues such as speeding, alcohol and drug-impaired driving, distraction, motorcycle safety, and seat belt usage. The grants we’re announcing today will help our partners in state and local law enforcement and other transportation officials enforce their highway laws and educate the public so that our roads will be safer for everyone,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens. In the fiscal year 2020, NHTSA awarded $4.2 million in motorcycle safety grants to 43 states and one territory. You can see the full break down of what your state was awarded here.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is continuing to engage with Congress about the priorities of motorcyclists for the next Highway authorization. The FAST Act is set to expire in 146 days, and as of today, neither chamber of Congress has drafted legislation for the next five-year authorization. If you want to review any of our legislative priorities, you can read our 2020 legislative Agenda here (

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Updated: 5/7/09 12:00 AM