The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released data that shows traffic fatalities went down slightly last year.
According to the latest numbers from NHTSA, 42,795 people were killed in vehicle crashes in 2022. That is a 0.3% decrease from 2021’s traffic deaths data, which shows 42,939 people were killed.
Last year’s fourth quarter was the third straight quarterly decline in traffic fatalities, following seven straight increases.
The reduction in traffic fatalities comes despite an increase in vehicle miles traveled. Last year, vehicle miles traveled increased by 29.3 billion miles, which is nearly a 1% increase.
In 2022, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicles miles traveled dropped to 1.35 from 1.37 the previous year. The fatality rate in the fourth quarter of 2022 dropped from 1.40 to 1.38.
Traffic fatalities are still up significantly when compared to pre-pandemic years.
The number of those killed in vehicle crashes went up significantly in 2020 (7.3%) and 2021 (10.1%). Compared to 2019, traffic fatalities in 2022 went up by more than 6,000 or nearly 18%.
Half of the 10 regions in the nation experienced a decrease or no change in traffic fatalities. Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin) and Region 6 (Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) had the steepest decline at 3% each. Region 1 (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) experienced an 8% increase, the largest increase in the nation.
Breaking down the numbers by state, the District of Columbia experienced the highest decrease by percentage change at 22%. Connecticut has the largest increase by percentage change at nearly 29%.
NHTSA’s latest traffic fatalities stats are preliminary. Early estimates do not include crashes by vehicle type or specific demographics.
The fatality counts for 2021 and 2022 and the ensuing percentage change from 2021 to 2022 will be further revised as the Fatality Analysis Reporting System final file for 2021 and the annual report file for 2022 are available later this year.