Officials: Traffic Deaths Drop; Reason Still Not Clear

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) -- If you are hitting the roads this holiday season, you may be in luck.

Statistics out from the federal government show that the number of fatal crashes is down nearly 10 percent in 2008.

Preliminary statistics from the Federal Highway Administration show the number of people killed in traffic accidents this year is expected to to be at its lowest level since the government began tracking the numbers in 1966.

"While we are encouraged by these declines, our work is not nearly complete in making our safe transportation network even safer," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters in a statement.

Authorities say it's still to early to tell why traffic deaths are down, but statistics show Americans are driving less.

In October 2008, Americans drove about 9 billion fewer miles that they did in October 2007, the Federal Highway Administration said.

Gas prices topped $4 dollars a gallon during this period, but officials add that it's still too early to say if high gas prices are to credit for the fewer number of drivers on the road.