Increase in car fatalities

August 22, 2022
Cars driving down highway at dusk

The overall numbers are still moving in the wrong direction.

Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s administrator, on the recent report that found a nationwide increase in traffic fatalities. The first quarter fatality numbers are the highest reported in 20 years and are 7% higher than last year.

Why It Matters: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released an early estimate of traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2022 and found a sharp increase in traffic-related deaths. The report comes a few months after 2021 numbers showed the highest overall traffic fatalities since 2005.

  • Regional Differences: The majority of states saw an increase in traffic fatalities, while 19 states and Puerto Rico saw a decrease in numbers. Over 50% of fatalities occurred in six northeastern states and D.C..
  • Dr. Cliff went on to say, "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."
  • Something to Consider: Previous NHTSA studies had found younger women have a higher fatality risk. However, a recent study found that female and male fatality risks are increasingly equal due to newer vehicle technology; the data shows that "the newer the vehicle, the smaller the disparity." Newer vehicles are considered model year 2000 and later.

U.S. traffic deaths hit 20-year high in early 2022 (NBC)

NHTSA Early Estimates Show Record Increase in Fatalities Nationwide

The report

by Jenna Lee,