Deaths from road accidents in the United States have declined for the fifth straight quarter.
This is according to early estimates of traffic fatalities for the first half of 2023, released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
An estimated 19,515 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes, representing a decrease of about 3.3 percent as compared to 20,190 fatalities reported in the first half of 2022.
Traffic accident deaths declined in both the first and second quarters of 2023, data shows.
Continuing the trend identified in the first quarter estimates released in June, preliminary data shows vehicle miles traveled in the first half of 2023 increased by about 35.1 billion miles. More miles driven combined with fewer traffic deaths resulted in a death rate of 1.24 per 100 million VMT, down from the projected rate of 1.31 fatalities per 100 million VMT in the first half of 2023.
“After spiking during the pandemic, traffic deaths are continuing to slowly come down—but we still have a long way to go,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.
NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson said NHTSA is addressing traffic safety in many ways, including new rulemakings for lifesaving vehicle technologies and increased Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for state highway safety offices.
NHTSA estimates a decrease in fatalities in 29 states, while 21 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, are projected to have experienced increases.
The Administration has announced several safety initiatives aimed at reducing traffic deaths in the country, including proposed rulemakings to require automatic emergency braking systems in passenger cars, light trucks and heavy vehicles.
It also published a proposed rule for seat belt warning systems and issued a Standing General Order to collect more data about crashes that occur when automated driving systems and advanced driver assistance systems are engaged.
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