According to the latest projections from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 42,795 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents in 2022. This represents a slight decrease of about 0.3% compared to the previous year.
Additionally, the estimated fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled dropped to 1.35 in 2022, down from 1.37 in 2021. Despite this reduction, it’s important to note that Americans are driving more, with a nearly 1% increase in travel compared to 2021.
In positive news, fatalities in the fourth quarter of 2022 actually declined. This marks the third consecutive quarterly decrease after seven quarters of continuous increases, which began in the third quarter of 2020.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg commented on this ongoing issue, calling it a “national crisis.” He emphasized that everyone has a role to play in reversing this concerning trend and achieving safer roadways. The National Roadway Safety Strategy, implemented by the NHTSA, aims to strengthen traffic safety across the country and prevent these tragic accidents from happening.
Furthermore, NHTSA estimates that 27 states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, saw a decrease in fatalities in 2022 compared to 2021, while 23 states experienced an increase.
To address this crisis, the Department of Transportation (DOT) released the comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy in January 2022. This strategy utilizes the Safe System Approach, implementing multiple layers of protection to create safer roads, safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds, and better post-crash care.
The NRSS is further supported by the significant safety funding included in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In addition, the DOT awarded over $800 million in grants to communities to carry out projects that target high-crash areas.
To raise awareness and encourage action, the DOT launched the Call to Action campaign as the next phase of the NRSS. They also released a one-year progress report and data visualizations to highlight the magnitude of the roadway safety problem in the United States.