NHTSA reports slight drop in traffic deaths

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2023 | Pedestrian Accidents |

Motor vehicle accident deaths in New York and around the country fell slightly in the first three quarters of 2022 according to figures released on Jan. 9 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There were 31,785 traffic fatalities in the United States during the first nine months of 2022 compared with 31,850 during the same period in 2021. The modest drop is seen as good news by officials and experts who have been worried about the alarming rise in road deaths observed over the last two years.

Unsafe behavior

In May 2022, the NHTSA announced that the 42,915 road deaths recorded in 2021 was the highest annual death toll in 16 years. In 2020, car crash fatalities rose by 7%. Experts blamed these sharp increases on a rise in dangerous behavior like speeding and distracted and impaired driving. Overall road fatalities rose by 10.5% in 2021, but the number of speed-related deaths increased by 17%.

Pedestrians and cyclists

The 0.2% drop in traffic fatalities is unlikely to be celebrated by the most vulnerable road users as cyclist and pedestrian deaths continue to rise. The 7,342 pedestrians killed in 2021 represented a 13% year-over-year increase and was the highest annual death toll in four decades, and pedestrian fatalities rose by a further 2% during the first six months of 2022. Cyclist fatalities rose by 5% in 2021 and by 8% during the first two quarters of 2022.

Safe cars and dangerous drivers

Road deaths are still worryingly high. Modern cars are packed with safety features that are designed to prevent accidents and protect occupants when crashes do occur, but the people driving them appear to be getting more and more reckless. The NHTSA believes that investment in infrastructure will make the nation’s roads safer, but it is difficult to share this optimism when significant advances in automobile safety have had little or no effect.