WASHINGTON, April 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite Americans driving nearly 21 billion more miles last year, U.S. highway traffic fatalities dropped 3 percent from 2009 to the lowest levels in recorded history. The fatality rate also dropped, to 1.09 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT).
"The hard numbers show that auto travel today is safer than ever before – not because of an economic slump, but because automakers have worked with other stakeholders to bring innovation to autos," said Alliance Interim President and CEO John Whatley. "Still, we have to remember that these aren't just numbers, these are lives, so automakers are continuing to advance technologies that will make the biggest impact on the traveling public."
Alliance members have enhanced safety — and led regulations — through the introduction of many safety technologies, including anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, side airbags for head and chest protection, side curtain airbags, radar use for collision avoidance, and more. These technologies, combined with a comprehensive approach that includes promoting strong traffic safety laws coupled with high-visibility enforcement and consumer education were fundamental factors in bringing safety statistics to their historic levels.
Auto engineers developed and introduced leap-ahead safety technology like forward collision warning, post-crash notification, lane departure notification warning systems, night vision with pedestrian detection, collision warning with brake support, blind spot detection and more.
Road safety is a shared responsibility, and these numbers underscore why automakers and policymakers need to continue engaging consumers while relying on sound data and engineering innovation to advance auto safety.
"Our engineers are looking out even further into the future," added Whatley. "We are working to improve fuel economy while simultaneously adding these safety technologies for consumers. And we're partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and MADD to advance technology that keeps drunk drivers from even starting an auto. Additionally we're working with others to boost safety belt enforcement laws to primary enforcement laws."
For more information on Alliance safety initiatives go to www.autoalliance.org.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade association of 12 car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.
SOURCE Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers