Feds Say Traffic Fatalities Are at Their Highest Since 2002

Nearly 10,000 people died in traffic accidents in the first three months of 2022.

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Image: NHTSA

Traffic deaths are sadly on the rise, and there doesn’t look to be an end in sight. The NHTSA released its estimates of traffic fatalities for the first part of 2022, and they aren’t good. Estimates show 9,560 people died in car accidents in the first quarter of 2022.

The agency says that not only is it a seven percent increase from 2021, when there were 8,935 fatalities from car accidents, but it’s also the highest fatality level in 20 years. That comes out to 1.27 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. And Americans drove a lot, estimated to be some 40.2 billion miles.

“The number of deaths is heading in the wrong direction. The overall numbers are still moving in the wrong direction. Now is the time for all states to double down on traffic safety” says the head of the agency, Dr. Steven Cliff. The agency thinks speeding is the main culprit behind the high number of fatalities. That’s why a new national campaign to discourage speeding is being rolled out.

Look at the Damage | Speed | :30

In a partnership with the Department of Transportation, the NHTSA has launched a Speeding Wrecks Lives campaign in an effort to get people to stop speeding. The campaign shows the harsh realities of speeding, from the damage done to the lives lost or changed. The agencies are also working with state officials with locally targeted campaigns to reach communities and people that might not be aware of the national campaign.

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Recently, experts have determined that, even though cars are getting safer, there are still countless factors that make driving more dangerous, including reckless or distracted driving; cell phone use; increased sales of large trucks or SUVs; and the sale of more powerful vehicles.