Motor vehicle-related deaths in the U.S. have fallen 7 percent in the first half of 2009 compared to the same time period last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

According to statistics from the agency, traffic crash fatalities in the first half of this year were down to 16,626 as opposed to last year's 17,871 fatalities.

Additionally, for the first quarter of 2009, there was a 10 percent decrease in crash-related deaths. In the second quarter, there was a 4 percent decline.

Per the NHTSA, traffic fatalities have been progressively declining since 2005. Furthermore, the second quarter marks the 13th consecutive quarter of decline in crash-related deaths in respect to the same quarter from the year before.

In the first half of 2009, the number of miles traveled fell by about 0.4 percent (6.1 billion miles). In concurrence, fatality rates dropped from 1.23 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in the first half of 2008 to 1.15 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled this year.