High oil prices are causing people to drive less, and many are quick to point out the emissions saved as a result, but the latest traffic figures reported by the NHTSA indicate another savings may be taking place as well - 1,600 fewer road deaths occurred in 2007 than in 2006. Whether it's the reduction in total road travel, safer cars or strengthened law enforcement efforts - or likely, all three - that are due the credit, the end result is the lowest national road death toll in a decade.

The biggest numerical difference was seen in California, where 266 fewer people were killed on the roads in 2007 than in 2006. The highest percentage decline in the death toll was found in the relatively small-population states of South Dakota and Vermont, reports CNN. Not all states saw decreases, however. North Carolina, for example, saw its traffic fatality total rise by 121 individuals. Motorcyclists also fared poorly, with the death rate continuing its decade-long rise, up 317 over 2006 statistics.

Traffic injuries were also down, falling for the eighth year in a row, with 2.49 million total injuries - a considerable drop from the 2.58 million reported in 2006. The NHTSA predicts deaths and injuries will continue to fall further as the economy slows and people drive less. Already several states have reported significant drops in fatalities so far this year.