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In 2009, the traffic fatality rate in the United States was the lowest since the federal government bean records in 1966. There were 43,510 highway deaths in 2005. This number decreased to 33,963 in 2009. Find the average rate of change in the number of highway deaths from 2005 to 2009. Please show all work. 
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Rate of change of deaths = change of deaths/chnage of time = (33963-43510)/(2009-2005) = -9547/4
=> -2386.75 deaths/yr
2005 the number was 43, 510
2009 the number reduced to 33, 963
Rate of change is simply the same as slope = m
(y2 - y1) / (x2 -x1)
(33,963 - 43,510) / (2009 -2005)
you should get something over something and that is your rate
The rate of change is equal to the change in "y" over the change in "x".
To find the average rate of change in this story problem, we need to find the change in number of deaths divided by the change in the years (or number of years).
So rate of change in the number of deaths = (deaths in 2005)-(deaths in 2009)
Then solve the equation.  The rate of change should be negative since the deaths are decreasing every year.  It is important to remember that the rate of change is simply the slope.  
I hope that this helps.