NHTSA Reports Continuing Decline in Deaths from Motor Vehicles Accidents in 2023

Several states saw traffic fatalities increase in the first half of 2023, despite an overall national decrease compared to last year’s early projections.

Federal highway safety officials indicate that the number of motor vehicle accident deaths decreased nationally in the first half of 2023, continuing a steady decline after a nearly two-year surge in car accident fatalities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its second projections for traffic fatalities in 2023 on September 28, determining there has been an estimated 3.3 percent decline in deaths involving traffic accidents over the first six months of this year, compared to the same period in 2022.

The projection represents the fifth consecutive quarterly decline in motor vehicle accident related deaths since the beginning of 2022, following seven straight quarters of year-to-year increases in roadway deaths that began in the third quarter of 2020. Officials say the decrease is a sign of continued progress towards reducing a surge in traffic fatalities.

The surge began during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with the greatest increases during that time involving pedestrian accident fatalities. Although there were less cars on the road during the pandemic, those that were traveling on highways were generally found to be moving at higher speeds and distracted driving was increased.

Did You Know?

Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

Officials indicate that the projected first half of 2023 motor vehicle accident deaths are still high compared to pre-pandemic levels, and that several states saw increases, despite the overall national decline.

Roadway Deaths Decreased Overall in 2023

According to the new NHTSA data projections, approximately 19,515 people died in the first six months of 2023, compared to 20,190 estimated fatalities during the same time in 2022. That data represents a decrease of 3.3%. Motor vehicle accident deaths in the projection include both occupants and non-occupants, such as pedestrians and bicyclists.

The decrease occurred alongside a 2.3 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled, the NHTSA determined. The estimated fatality rate for the first six months of 2023 decreased to 1.24 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, down from 1.31 fatalities during the same time in 2022.

While the latest NHTSA 2023 projections indicate traffic fatalities decreased in 29 states, roadway deaths actually surged in several states.

Rhode Island had the largest projected increase, with 193 percent more deaths in the first half of 2023 compared to 2022. District of Columbia had the second increase at 64.9 percent, and Idaho had the third largest corresponding increase at 29.7 percent.

System-Wide Safety Approach Reducing Traffic Fatalities

NHTSA officials credit the projected 2023 decrease in traffic deaths to the National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS), a program unveiled last January to address the national crisis in traffic fatalities and serious injuries, especially rising roadway deaths involving pedestrians. The NRSS includes a national pedestrian protection program, and a vulnerable road user safety assessment guide to help states reduce pedestrian and cyclist crash deaths, especially among children.

The NHTSA proposed a new rule this year, which would require automatic emergency braking systems in all newly manufactured vehicles in an effort to reduce rear end crash deaths and pedestrian fatalities.

The agency also proposed a rule that would require seat belt warning systems, issued an order to collect more data on traffic accidents that occur when the automatic driving and advanced driving systems are activated, and issued a final rule on rear impact guards.


"*" indicates required fields

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories

Bard 3DMax Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Set for Trial To Begin in April 2024
Bard 3DMax Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Set for Trial To Begin in April 2024 (Posted 5 days ago)

With thousands of Bard hernia mesh lawsuits pending in the federal court system, a fourth bellwether trial will be held in the spring, involving allegations that defects with Bard 3DMax caused painful and permanent injuries.