But what has caused the reduction in fatalities?
Any task can be subject to human error and driving is no exception. Wherever humans are involved, there are bound to be mistakes and accidents. Autonomous vehicles aren't quite ready to solve this issue, which means cars will have to do a better job looking after occupants. And from the latest data, it appears that's exactly what they've been doing.
According to a Reuters reports, US traffic deaths decreased by 3.1% in the first half of 2018. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also reported that the number had fallen by 1.8% the previous year after rising the two years prior to that.
The preliminary data says the US traffic fatality rate now sits at 1.08 deaths per 100 million miles traveled for the first half of 2018. For comparison, the fatality rate was 1.16 million deaths per 100 million miles in 2017 (the second highest since 2008). The Governors Highway Safety Association pointed out that a strong economy can typically have a positive effect on traffic deaths "so this drop, while small, is encouraging news."
After recording the numbers, the NHTSA is attempting to quantify them. Automakers have been adding more and more standard safety features as consumers demand them. Honda even announced that all of its cars, even the affordable Fit, will come standard with Honda Sensing by 2022.
It is encouraging to see that fewer people are dying on US roads but 37,133 were still killed last year. Automakers are doing their best to make cars safer but until the human error is taken out of the equation there is no way to guarantee that no one is killed. Enthusiasts may not like the idea of a self-driving car, but a sports car that that is impossible to crash doesn't sound like a terrible idea.