Motor vehicle deaths decrease for first time in 2 years in US

NHTSA Traffic Deaths
Posted at 2:59 PM, Sep 19, 2022

A new report released by federal safety regulators shows that fatality crashes decreased slightly for the first time in two years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released estimates on Monday that showed 10,590 people died on roadways this year from April through June, which is a 4.9% decrease from the same time as last year.

The agency said this marks the first decline in seven quarters.

Although the data shows a decline, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said traffic deaths are "still at high levels."

"Traffic deaths appear to be declining for the first time since 2020, but they are still at high levels that call for urgent and sustained action. These deaths are preventable, not inevitable, and we should act accordingly," said Buttigieg in a press release. "Safety is our guiding mission at the Department of Transportation, and we will redouble our efforts to reduce the tragic number of deaths on our nation’s roads."

The decline, however, wasn't enough to offset deaths reported from January through June, which showed an increase of 0.5% from the same time last year, with 20,175 people dying in accidents, the agency estimated.

"Although it is heartening to see a projected decline in roadway deaths in recent months, the number of people dying on roads in this country remains a crisis," said Ann Carlson, NHTSA’s Acting Administrator, in a statement. "Now is the time for all stakeholders, including states, local transportation entities, industry, non-profits and others, to leverage the significant funding and tools provided under the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and join with USDOT in implementing the National Roadway Safety Strategy’s safe system approach, so we can turn the tide on years of increasing deaths."

In August, the agency released a report that showed deaths on the roadway hit a 20-year high.

According to its estimates, the agency said 9,560 people died in the first quarter of 2022, a 7% increase from last year.