National Safety Council data shows more than 40,000 people were killed on the road in 2017

A Veneta woman died and 4 people were injured when a Springfield man's pickup rear-ended a car as traffic slowed on Highway 126 west of Eugene, sending the pickup into oncoming traffic where it hit a minivan nearly head-on, Oregon State Police said. (OSP)

PORTLAND, Ore. – The National Safety Council released new data Thursday on the number of traffic deaths in 2017.

The numbers show a slight decline in traffic crash fatalities compared to past years.

But still, more than 40,000 people were killed on the road.

The National Safety Council says the numbers are leveling off more so than they are improving.

This is the second year in a row that more than 40,000 people died in traffic crashes, with more than 4 million seriously injured.

2017 saw about a 6 percent increase over 2015 and a 14 percent increase over 2014.

Traffic deaths started dropping in 2008, around the time of the recession.

Experts say as the economy recovered, more people, including teens with the highest fatal crash rates, started driving again.

The National Safety Council is calling for reforms including:

  • More red light and speed cameras
  • More safety technology installed in cars, such as blind spot monitoring
  • Restrictions on all new drivers under age 21 - for example, a night curfew.

The National Safety Council gives each state a grade on how they’re doing when it comes to laws to prevent crashes.

Oregon and Washington both received “B” ratings. But, a “B” is the top of the class. Not a single state received an “A.”