Norman Y. Mineta, former Secretary of Transportation, had an op-ed published in today's Washington Post in which he pointed out the sobering fact that more than 3,000 people will die in auto accidents worldwide today. Today!
In the United States, traffic fatalities have been very steady at between 40,000 and about 43,000 annually for well more than a decade (stats here). Rates of fatalities (per driver, per mile, etc.) have slowly declined, since there are more drivers driving more miles.
Mr. Mineta focuses primarily on safer cars, safer roads and safer behavior as solutions. I would like to suggest that reducing driving would likely be far more effective. Imagine: a 10% reduction in driving would save over 4000 lives per year (and more than 80,000 injuries!). I don't know what the economic value of those avoided deaths and injuries are, but if that money were able to be invested into more and better transit, smarter development and all the other things that reduce the need to drive, I'm sure it would be a positive return.