Traffic deaths last year in the United States fell to the lowest level in 60 years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The 33,808 deaths in 2009 represented a 9.7 percent decline from the previous year, the safety agency said on Thursday.
The number of injuries also dropped to 2.22 million last year from 2.35 million in 2008.
The agency said preliminary estimates showed Americans drove 0.2 percent more miles in 2009 than the previous year.
Such “dramatic gains” in safety show that fatalities and injuries can be steadily reduced and “that society should treat traffic fatalities as a disease to be eliminated,” said Clarence Ditlow, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety.