Fifty-six fewer people died in motor vehicle accidents in Maryland last year than in 2009, a decline of 10 percent, according to figures released Thursday by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Nationally, highway deaths dropped to 32,885 for the year, a 2.9 percent decrease and the lowest level since 1949.
Maryland has seen a decline in each of the last four years. Last year's total of 493 deaths marks the first time in decades that the number has dropped below 500.
More air bags, better anti-rollover technology, improved road signage and safe driving campaigns have combined to make highways safer, said Christine Delise, spokeswoman for Towson-based AAA Mid-Atlantic.