Highway deaths drop to lowest levels since 1950s

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. highway deaths have fallen to their lowest levels since the 1950s.

The Transportation Department said Thursday that its projections show traffic deaths declined nearly 9 percent in 2009 to fewer than 34,000. That's the lowest level since 1954.

Safety experts attribute the reductions to increased seat belt use, less drunken driving and more enforcement of traffic laws. Others point to the sluggish economy, which leads fewer people to drive.

Highway deaths have dropped steadily since 2005.

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