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Big Drop in California Roadway Deaths

August 27, 2008

SACRAMENTO, CA --- California's roadways saw a significant drop in the number of people killed in traffic crashes in 2007, according to figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

A total of 3,974 people died in traffic crashes in California in 2007,  compared to 4,240 in 2006. The total fatalities figure is the lowest number since 2001.

"We are both elated and heartened by these numbers," Office of Traffic Safety Director Chris Murphy said. "State and local governments, businesses, organizations and concerned citizens have all worked together tirelessly in this fight against needless loss of lives and futures. While today's announcement is great news, there is no acceptable level when it comes to traffic fatalities, so we cannot let up."

"The decline in traffic deaths in 2007 is very encouraging," said California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow. "The reduction in the number of lives needlessly lost is the result of a lot of people working together in traffic safety education and enforcement. The messages are out there: drinking and driving, speeding and not wearing a seat belt, kill. There's still a lot of work to do. Our mission will be to continue to reduce traffic fatalities so that more people go home alive at the end of each day."

State officials credit recent efforts in public awareness and enforcement for the drop of over 6.3 percent in total fatalities. This concerted effort includes:

  • Permanent signs reminding everyone to use seatbelts with "Click It or Ticket," resulting in a life-saving 94.6 percent seat belt usage rate
  • Increased numbers and consistency of DUI checkpoints throughout the state
  • Growth of the "Avoid DUI" taskforces to include the California Highway Patrol and over 450 local law enforcement agencies, covering 98 percent of the state's population
  • Installation of over 750 signs prompting the public to watch out for impaired drivers with the message "Report Drunk Drivers -- Call 911."


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