US road safety is a concern

US road safety is a growing concern.
Highway & Network Management / September 8, 2022 1 minute 15 seconds Read
By MJ Woof
The US has a serious problem with regard to road crashes, with an increasing rate of road fatalities – image © courtesy of Mike Woof

Road safety in the US remains a serious concern with the publishing of statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2022. The data from the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that an estimated 9,560 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes.

This represents an increase of around 7% as compared to 8,935 fatalities projected to have occurred in the first quarter of 2021. The figures are of concern as this is the highest rate of road fatalities for the first quarter of a year since 2002.

Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the first three months of 2022 increased by about 40.2 billion miles, or about a 5.6% increase. The fatality rate for the first quarter of 2022 increased to 1.27 fatalities/100 million VMT, up from the projected rate of 1.25 fatalities/100 million VMT in the first quarter of 2021.

NHTSA recently began breaking out fatality trends by state for these quarterly estimates. While fatalities increased nationwide, 19 states and Puerto Rico saw traffic deaths decline during this period. NHTSA will continue to monitor state-by-state numbers to make it easier for state practitioners, researchers and advocates to see if there is a trend and if there are activities these states are undertaking that are contributing to this decline.

“The overall numbers are still moving in the wrong direction. Now is the time for all states to double down on traffic safety. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, there are more resources than ever for research, interventions and effective messaging and programs that can reverse the deadly trend and save lives,” said Dr Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s administrator.

For the NHTSA Region differences, seven of 10 Regions are estimated to have increases in fatalities, and six of the 10 Regions are estimated to have increases in fatality rate/100 million VMT in the first quarter of 2022 as compared to the first quarter of 2021. Also, 29 States and the District of Columbia are projected to have experienced increases in fatalities. 

The actual counts for 2021 and 2022 and the ensuing percentage changes from 2021 to 2022 will be further revised as the annual reporting FARS files for 2021 are available later this year, as well as when the Final File for 2021 and the Annual Reporting File for 2022 are available in 2023.

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