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A recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says traffic fatalities are on the decrease and improvements in vehicle safety are apparently the cause. Design improvements in recent years from 2000 through 2008 may have saved more than 2000 lives, according to NHTSA, and prevented more than a million occupant injuries.

The June 12, 2012, issue of Motor Trend Magazine, article by Christian Seabaugh says that NHTSA examined the "crashworthiness and crash avoidance performance" of vehicles from 2000 through 2008, reviewing the types of crashes which happened and miles driven. The goal of the exercise was to examine the manner in which technologies have improved driving safety and, ultimately, the review revealed that automotive fatalities were decreasing.

In addition to the total number of fatalities going down, the report noted the possibility of crashing in 100,000 miles of driving also decreased from 30 percent in a 2000 model car, to 25 percent in a 2008 model vehicle.

900,000 Vehicles, however, were involved in accidents during the period, and 200,000 were considered to be preventable by technologies in place by 2008. "Of the 12 million occupants in those accidents, 600 lives could have been saved, and 300,000 injuries could have been prevented or mitigated," according to Seabaugh’s article.

NHTSA says that technology improvements in models 2000 through 2008 vehicles may have prevented an approximately 700,000 accidents. The possibility of escaping a crash without injury has also improved from 79 percent to 82 percent.

But back-up cameras are still not installed in all new vehicles… and people—especially young people–are still using their cell phones to text while driving in some states, but Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says, "We are making real progress protecting drivers and passengers nationwide."

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