NHTSA Reports A Decline In Q3 2022 Traffic Fatalities

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But some road users aren't as lucky.

American roads can be treacherous, and according to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicle deaths might be going down, but pedestrian and cyclist deaths have risen.

In September 2022, we reported that American road deaths had declined for the first time in two years, but the year before that, US traffic deaths were at their highest in over a decade.

The NHTSA's latest report also only includes figures for the first nine months of 2022 but with more detail relating to increases and decreases across specific categories. The latest report has good news for car drivers and bad news for those on foot and two wheels, including bikers and cyclists.

The NHTSA will have a full-year estimate available by the end of the first quarter of 2023.


According to the newly released data, 31,785 people died in traffic crashes which is a 0.2 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2021. This is the first significant decline in fatalities since the COVID-19 pandemic and translates into an estimated 1.30 deaths per 100 million miles traveled for 2022. 2021 saw a rate of 1.32 fatalities per 100 million miles.

Drilling down into the types of crashes, 2022 saw a 9% drop in rollover crashes and a 2% drop in speeding-related crashes. Children under 16 saw a 10% decrease in fatalities, and those aged 16 to 24 saw a 9% decline. There was also a 7% reduction in unbelted people in passenger vehicles.


Unfortunately, there is also some bad news.

Those not inside a car faced an increased risk of crashes and fatalities: pedestrian deaths were up by 2%, followed by motorcyclists, who saw a 5% increase. Cyclists faced the most significant increase in deaths at 8%.

Those living in rural areas saw a significant increase in deaths of 12%. States in the Northeast/New England had the most considerable growth in deaths at 5%. These figures come as Americans spend more time on the road (1.6 percent more miles) and include an initial increase in deaths of seven percent in the first quarter of 2022. These figures come from an earlier report compiled by the NHTSA and the US Department of Transport, which only takes the first six months of 2022 into account.

The NHTSA also stated that drugs and alcohol played a significant role in most crashes.

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"Fatalities have not increased for two quarters now, but we have far more work to do to save lives and address the crisis on our nation's roadways," said NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson. "That means investing in safety, implementing strategies that work, and embracing the safe system approach outlined in the Department's National Roadway Safety Strategy. We urge everyone to do their part by driving safely and watching out for others on the road, especially vulnerable road users like pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists."

Time to get off the bike and into something with an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus rating, like a Subaru Outback.

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