Preliminary information suggests that roads in the United States are becoming increasingly dangerous. Early estimates suggest that 9,560 people died in road accidents in the first quarter of 2022, representing a 7.0% increase from the 8,935 deaths predicted for the first quarter of 2021. This is the number the highest first-trimester fatalities since 2002, according to a new report from the National Highway Safety Administration.
In the first quarter of 2022, NHTSA data shows seven consecutive quarters of increased deaths. In fact, the second quarter of 2021 saw a jump of 21.8%, which was the largest increase in recorded history.
NHTSA breaks down quarterly estimates by state. Check out the chart in the gallery below to see where your state ranks. The agency expects deaths to rise in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021 in 29 states and the District of Columbia. 19 states and Puerto Rico forecast a decrease in deaths. There is no change in two states.
Federal Highway Administration data shows vehicle miles traveled in the first three months of 2022 increased 5.6%, an increase of about 40.2 billion miles. In terms of road death rates, the data shows that it is 1.27 deaths per 100 million kilometers traveled in the first quarter of 2022, compared to 1.25 per 100 million in the first quarter of 2021.
“Overall numbers are still moving in the wrong direction. Now is the time for all states to step up their efforts on road safety. Thanks to the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, there are more resources than ever for research , interventions and effective messages and programs that can reverse the deadly trend and save lives,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Steven Cliff.
It should be emphasized that the death figures for 2021 and 2022 are still preliminary figures. To arrive at these early numbers, NHTSA uses information from its Death Analysis Reporting System, early notification data and monthly death counts. The agency applies a Time Series Cross-Section Regression procedure by month and by region.
NHTSA will change the statistics in late September when it releases data for the first six months of 2022. The final file for 2021 and the annual report file for 2022 will not be released until next year.