The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released its latest projections for traffic fatalities in 2022, estimating that 42,795 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents a small decrease of about 0.3% as compared to 42,939 fatalities reported for 2021. The estimated fatality rate decreased to 1.35 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2022, down from 1.37 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2021. Americans are driving more than they did during the height of the pandemic, almost a 1% increase over 2021.
NHTSA also projects that fatalities declined in the fourth quarter of 2022. This is the third straight quarterly decline in fatalities after seven consecutive quarters of increases that started in the third quarter of 2020.
“We continue to face a national crisis of traffic deaths on our roadways, and everyone has a role to play in reversing the rise that we experienced in recent years,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Through our National Roadway Safety Strategy, we’re strengthening traffic safety across the country, and working toward a day when these preventable tragedies are a thing of the past.”
NHTSA estimates that 27 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are projected to have had decreases in fatalities in 2022 as compared to 2021, while 23 States are projected to have experienced increases.
In January 2022, DOT released the comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy, a roadmap to address the national crisis in traffic fatalities and serious injuries. It adopts the Safe System Approach and builds multiple layers of protection with safer roads, safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds, and better post-crash care. The NRSS is complemented by unprecedented safety funding included in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and in February, the Department announced more than $800 million in grants to help communities carry out projects that can address high-crash areas. DOT also launched the next phase of the NRSS, its Call to Action campaign, and released a one-year progress report and accompanying data visualizations that highlight the extent and magnitude of the U.S. roadway safety problem.
The Department’s other roadway safety actions include:
- Produced the Vulnerable Road User Safety Assessment to guide states on required 2023 assessments.
- Issued the Complete Streets Report to Congress: Moving to a Complete Streets Design Model.
- Issued a final rule on rear impact guards.
- Advanced the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices rulemaking effort, analyzing and resolving the more than 25,000 public comments.
- Published a Supplemental Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning speed limiters with a motor carrier-based approach.
- Released proposals for upgrades and a “road map” for the New Car Assessment Program – including developing a proposal to add a pedestrian protection program to NCAP.
- Made significant progress to advance pedestrian automatic emergency braking rulemaking.
- Issued a Standing General Order to collect more data about crashes that occur when automated driving systems and advanced driver assistance systems are engaged.