In figures released Thursday for 2009, statewide traffic deaths fell 10.3 percent — from 3,434 in 2008 to 3,081 last year. That’s the fewest deaths since 1950, when the death toll was 3,054 for California.

And for the first time in more than a decade, motorcycle deaths in California have fallen — marking the end of an 11-year, 175 percent increase in fatalities.

Motorcycle fatalities dropped by 29.6 percent, from 560 in 2008 to 394 in 2009.

In addition, DUI deaths dropped for the fourth straight year, with 950 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2009, a 7.6 percent decline from 1,025 in 2008. That marks a 26.8 percent drop from the 2005 high of 1,298.

That mirrors nationwide figures released earlier this week. There were 33,808 for the 2009 in the United States, a decline of more than 9 percent and the lowest figure since 1950.

“Everyone in California should be heartened with these figures,” Christopher Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety, said in a news release. “But as encouraging as this is, we can’t let up on the efforts to encourage and enforce traffic safety. Thousands are still losing their lives or being severely injured on our roadways.”

The slumping economy is one factor among many for the downturn. Unemployment remains high at 10 percent.  Gasoline sales dropped by 4 percent from 2007 to 2008, but have stayed flat since then. And motorcycle registrations have dropped nearly 2 percent. Less people on the road means less fatalities.
If you or a loved one had been injured in an accident, contact us at 888.777.1776 or by email to speak with a personal injury lawyer at the Alexander Law Group, LLP. All calls are free and confidential.