Preliminary information suggests the roads in the United States are becoming more dangerous. Early estimates suggest that 9,560 people died in traffic crashes in the first quarter of 2022, which is up 7.0 percent from the 8,935 fatalities projected for Q1 2021. This is the highest number of Q1 deaths since 2002, according to a new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
As of Q1 2022, NHTSA data shows seven consecutive quarters of fatality increases. In fact, Q2 2021 had a 21.8-percent jump, which was the biggest increase in recorded history.
NHTSA breaks out the quarterly estimates by state. Check out the table in the gallery below to see where your state ranks. The agency expects increased fatalities in Q1 2022 over the same period in 2021 in 29 states and the District of Columbia. 19 states and Puerto Rico have projected decreases in deaths. There is no change in two states.
Gallery: NHTSA Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Quarter of 2022
Federal Highway Administration data shows that vehicle miles traveled in the first three months of 2022 is up 5.6 percent, an increase of about 40.2 billion miles. In terms of the rate of traffic fatalities, the data shows that it's 1.27 deaths per 100 million miles driven in Q1 2022, versus 1.25 per 100 million for Q1 2021.
"The overall numbers are still moving in the wrong direction. Now is the time for all states to double down on traffic safety. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, there are more resources than ever for research, interventions and effective messaging and programs that can reverse the deadly trend and save lives,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Steven Cliff.
It's worth pointing out that the fatality figures for 2021 and 2022 are still preliminary numbers. To come up with these early numbers, NHTSA uses info from its Fatality Analysis Reporting System, Early Notification data, and Monthly Fatality Counts. The agency applies a Time Series Cross-Section Regression procedure by month and by region.
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NHTSA will tweak the stats in late September upon the release of the data for the first six months of 2022. The Final File for 2021 and the Annual Reporting File for 2022 won't be out until next year.