US road safety improving

US road safety is improving, but slowly.
Highway & Network Management / April 8, 2024 45 seconds Read
By MJ Woof
Road safety is improving in the US, but distracted driving remains a cause for concern – image © courtesy of Mike Woof

Road safety is improving in the US, but the rate of improvement is sluggish according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The latest official report shows that US road deaths dropped 3.6% to 40,990 for 2023, compared to 42,514 in 2022.

This is the second year in a row that US road deaths have been reduced and is of note given that people in the US are once again driving more than during the COVID-19 pandemic. People in the US drove 108 billion kilometres in 2023, and increase of 2.1% from 2022.

But the NHTSA says that road deaths could be reduced further and that distracted driving remains a serious cause for concern. This resulted in 3,308 fatalities in 2022 as well as 289,310 injuries.

“Distracted driving is extremely dangerous,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman said. “Distraction comes in many forms, but it is also preventable. Our rebranded campaign reminds everyone to Put the Phone Away or Pay, because distracted driving can cost you in fines – or even cost your life or the life of someone else on the road.”

People who are walking, cycling or otherwise outside a vehicle are especially vulnerable to being in danger from distracted drivers. In 2022, 621 vulnerable road users were killed in distraction-affected traffic crashes. Despite overall declines, vulnerable road user fatality rates are increasing, and distracted driving is a contributing factor to the increase in fatalities. 

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