Traffic deaths fell slightly in 2017 after 2-year spike

DETROIT (AP) – Traffic deaths on U.S. roads fell slightly in 2017 after two straight years of big increases, but a leading safety organization that compiled the numbers says it’s no cause for celebration.

The National Safety Council on Thursday estimated that 40,100 people were killed in traffic crashes last year, down just under 1 percent from 2016. The group said it’s too early to tell whether the small decline means a downward trend after a two-year spike in deaths that was blamed largely on people driving more miles as the economy improved as well as an increase in distracted driving.

Spokeswoman Maureen Vogel says a 1 percent drop means the country is treading water and is not making progress toward reducing the large number of traffic deaths.