Fatal Auto Accident Crashes Up Nearly 33% Over Past Decade
DETROIT — The number of fatal traffic crashes in the United States has slightly decreased year over year, however, car crash-related fatalities have increased nearly 33% over the past decade, according to early estimates reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
NHTSA estimates that 31,785 people have died in traffic crashes during the first nine months of 2022, which is a 0.2% decrease in fatalities during the same time in 2021. According to NHTSA, there were approximately 42,915 auto-related deaths in 2021 — a significant increase from the 32,479 fatalities recorded in 2011.
NHTSA released a report focusing on some specific categories that show a mixture of increases and decreases compared to the same time frame in 2021. During the first six months of 2022, fatalities in children younger than 16 decreased by 10%, and there were 8% fewer deaths in people aged 16 to 24.
There was a 9% decrease in fatalities in rollover accidents, 7% in crashes with passengers ejected from the vehicle.
This slight decrease in motor vehicle deaths comes as Americans increased their time driving. According to the Federal Highway Administration, vehicle miles traveled increased by 1.6% during the first nine months of 2022.
However, fatalities increased by 12% on rural interstates and 10% in crashes involving at least one large truck. Fatalities also increased by 7% for crashes involving cyclists, and 5% for crashes involving motorcyclists.
The two images below show the number of motor vehicle fatalities by state in 2022 (top) and 2021 (bottom).
Michigan saw a 2.8% decrease in fatal accidents in 2022 from the same time in 2021.
NHTSA said that 25 states are projected to experience increases in fatalities. Hawaii saw the greatest increase with 42.2%, followed by Delaware with 23.9%, Washington with 21.4%, and Nebraska with 23%.
South Dakota was the largest decrease in traffic fatalities with 28.1%, followed by Rhode Island with 23.5%, Idaho with 17.6% and Oklahoma with 16.1%.
“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,” NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson said in a statement. “That means investing in safety, implementing strategies that work, and embracing the safe system approach outlined in the Department’s National Roadway Safety Strategy.”
NHTSA’s actions on roadway safety are guided by the National Roadway Safety Strategy, which outlines the Department’s comprehensive approach to significantly reducing serious injuries and deaths on highways, roads and streets.