The number and rate of traffic fatalities in 2010 fell to the lowest level ever recorded, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports.
According to early projections from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 32,788 fatalities in 2010 marked a 3% drop from 2009.
In addition, the rate of 1.09 deaths per 100 million miles of vehicle travel is also the lowest since 1949, when such records were first compiled.
The latest figure is a 25% drop from 2005, when 43,510 deaths were recorded.
The department says the figures are particularly striking given that Americans drove 3 trillion miles in 2010, the most since 2007 and the third-highest ever recorded.
Regionally, the Pacific Northwest states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska registered the biggest drop in fatalities, 12%, in 2010. See a regional breakdown here
The department credits more attention to drunk driving and increased seat beat use as well as high-visibility enforcement of strong traffic safety laws.