Traffic deaths in 2010 fell to their lowest levels in more than 60 years, according to new data from the Department of Transportation.
Safety technology in vehicles has made huge leaps in recent years and has lowered death and injury rates in collisions, analysts say.
Even the base models of 2012 vehicles are now required to have anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, tire pressure sensor monitors and multiple air bags. More expensive vehicles have extra features such as backup cameras and blind-spot warning lights and alerts.
Highway deaths fell to 32,885 for the year, the lowest total since 1949, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. The record-breaking decline in traffic fatalities occurred even as U.S. drivers traveled nearly 46 billion more miles during the year, a 1.6% increase over 2009, he said.