Motor Vehicle Deaths Top 40,000 in 2017 [Photo Gallery]

National Safety Council releases preliminary estimates based on tracked fatality trends.

Motor vehicle fatalities fell 1 percent in 2017 from 2016, but this does not mean America’s roads are safer, according to the National Safety Council.

Preliminary estimates from the NSC show a year-over-year decrease to 40,100 from 40,327. However, the 2017 numbers are 6 percent higher than the number of deaths in 2015, signaling the steepest two-year increase in 50 years.

"The price we are paying for mobility is 40,000 lives each year," said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman in a statement. "This is a stark reminder that our complacency is killing us. The only acceptable number is zero; we need to mobilize a full court press to improve roadway safety."

Estimates show that 2017 could be the second straight year that motor vehicle deaths topped 40,000. Overall, the NSC reports that 4.57 million people were seriously injured in crashes, about 1 percent lower than 2016 calculations.

The organization has been tracking fatality trends for nearly a century. Data is collected every month from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and additional information is gathering from the National Center for Health Statistics, such as deaths occurring within one year of the crash and on both public and private roadways as well as parking lots and driveways.

To encourage safer roadways and driving, the NSC recommends a list of precautions motorists should take. The suggestions are included in the slideshow.

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