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US traffic deaths see first quarterly decline since 2020

Traffic deaths on U.S. roadways saw a dip in the second quarter of 2022, the first decline since 2020, when fatalities began to climb. 

Estimates released Monday from the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) project that a little over 20,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first half of 2022, higher than the count in the first half of 2021. 

But figures from the second quarter of 2022 — a little over 10,000 deaths between April and June — are down nearly 5 percent from the second quarter numbers of the previous year, representing the first dip “after seven consecutive quarters of year-to-year increases in fatalities that began in the third quarter of 2020,” according to NHTSA. 

“Traffic deaths appear to be declining for the first time since 2020, but they are still at high levels that call for urgent and sustained action,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement from the NHTSA. 

The agency announced in May that traffic fatalities had reached a 16-year high in 2021 as rates have surged since the start of the pandemic. 

As the pandemic forced many off the road, driver behavior “changed significantly,” according to an NHTSA release last year.

“Drivers who remained on the roads engaged in more risky behavior, including speeding, failing to wear seat belts, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

Nearly 10,000 traffic deaths were logged in the first three months of this year, up more than 7 percent from the previous year.

NHSTA acting Administrator Ann Carlson said in the statement that “although it is heartening to see a projected decline in roadway deaths in recent months, the number of people dying on roads in this country remains a crisis.” 


Source: The Hill

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