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Number of Traffic Fatalities Falling

The number of people killed in a traffic accident fell to 33,808 for the year 2009, which is the lowest that number has been in 60 years, according to data released by the Department of Transportation.

In addition to the overall decline in accidents, there has been a significant drop in the number of fatal tractor-trailer accidents as well. There was more than a 25 percent drop in these types of crashes when comparing last year to 2008.

Several factors are contributing to this decline in accidents. The economic recession is probably why last year’s drop was so dramatic. With many companies scaling back, there were less trucks on the road and less opportunity for wrecks.

While the recession might get credit for the sharpness of the decline last year, truck accidents have been steadily falling for years due to other reasons.

New technological advances, such as collision warning systems and electronic data recorders, are becoming more commonplace and cutting into the number of crashes.

Regulations on the trucking industry are also having an effect. Since the latest Hours of Service regulations took effect, there has been a 20 percent drop in large truck crashes.