According to preliminary data, the roads in the United States are becoming more dangerous. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that early estimates for traffic crashes in the first quarter of 2022 show the highest number of Q1 deaths since 2002.
It is estimated that 9,560 people died in traffic accidents in the first quarter of 2022, a 7.0 percent increase from the 8,935 fatalities predicted for Q1 2021.
NHTSA data show seven consecutive quarters of fatality increases as of Q1 2022. The increase in Q2 2021 was 21.8 percent, the largest in recorded history.
The image below shows a table which the NHTSA breaks down the quarterly estimates by state.
In 29 states and the District of Columbia, the agency predicts an increase in fatalities in Q1 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. Deaths are expected to fall in 19 states and Puerto Rico.
According to Federal Highway Administration data, vehicle miles traveled increased by 5.6 percent in the first three months of 2022, totaling 40.2 billion miles. In terms of traffic fatalities, the data shows 1.27 deaths per 100 million miles driven in Q1 2022, compared to 1.25 per 100 million in Q1 2021.
“The overall numbers are still moving in the wrong direction. 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,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Steven Cliff.
It’s worth pointing out that the fatality figures for 2021 and 2022 are still preliminary numbers. NHTSA will tweak the stats in late September upon the release of the data for the first six months of 2022. The Final File for 2021 and the Annual Reporting File for 2022 won’t be out until next year.