Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for road deaths in 2022 (during the first 9 months) is out, and it depicts a couple different stories. On the good news front, the fatality rate for people dying in cars is down. As for the bad news, fatalities for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists involved in vehicle accidents are up.
The data estimates that in the first nine months of 2022, 31,785 people died in traffic crashes. Compared to the same time period in 2021, that’s a 0.2% decrease in deaths. It’s the first leveling off of the numbers since the pandemic saw dramatically elevated numbers of traffic fatalities. This puts the estimated fatality rate for 2022 at 1.30 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled. Again, that’s down from 2021’s rate of 1.32 fatalities per 100 million miles.
Deaths for pedestrians in 2022 are up 2%. Motorcyclists faced a 5% increase in fatalities, and cyclists fared even worse with an 8% increase in fatalities. Vehicle crashes in rural areas saw a spike in 2022, as well, coming in at a 12% bump versus 2021.
As for situations where fatalities decreased versus 2021, the NHTSA says there was a 9% drop in fatal rollover crashes and a 2% drop in speeding-related crashes. The data also varies by state or U.S. territory. States in the northeast/New England region saw the biggest increase in deaths (5% increase), while the plains states region saw the most notable decrease (also by 5%).
“Fatalities have not increased for two quarters now, but we have far more work to do to save lives and address the crisis on our nation’s roadways,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson. “That means investing in safety, implementing strategies that work, and embracing the safe system approach outlined in the Department’s National Roadway Safety Strategy. We urge everyone to do their part by driving safely and watching out for others on the road, especially vulnerable road users like pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.”