Motorcycle deaths rose for the sixth year in a row, this time by 12 % to 3,661, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency said it doesn't yet know whether more miles were ridden on motorcycles in 2003 than in 2002, but that is likely.
Overall, fewer people were killed or injured on U.S. highways last year than in 2002, a decline that regulators said owed much to more seat-belt use and fewer accidents involving drunken drivers. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said that 42,643 people died in traffic crashes in 2003, down 362 from the previous year.
People drove more in 2003 than in 2002, the agency said. When measured by the estimated miles driven, the number of deaths per 100 million miles fell to 1.48, the lowest level since record-keeping began in 1966. "America's roads and highways are safer than ever," Mineta said. He added that 2.89 million people were injured, a number also down slightly from 2002.
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