OHS Canada Magazine

U.S. traffic deaths decline by one per cent, but no cause for celebration: NSC


August 23, 2022
By OHS Canada

Global OHS News Highway Safety NSC road accident Traffic USA

Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council (NSC) show 21,340 people died in what it calls “preventable crashes” on U.S. roads in the first six months of 2022. That’s a one per cent decrease compared to the same time period in 2021.

The first quarter of 2022 was grim, NSC said — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a report, which showed a seven per cent increase in deaths during that time period. The good news: beginning in April, or the start of the second quarter, U.S. roads have experienced less loss of life.

Newly released NSC data show June 2022 was the third consecutive month with deaths below 2021 levels and the first month below 2020 levels.

While this one per cent decrease in deaths for the first half of 2022 as compared to 2021 may indicate a positive trend, NSC data show 2022 is up 15 per cent compared to 2020 – “proving U.S. roadways are still supremely dangerous, especially for those walking, biking, and rolling,” it said.

Some states experienced fewer preventable deaths on the roads, while others saw increases of 19 per cent or more in the first six months of 2022, including:

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• Maine (+52%, 28 more deaths)
• Vermont (+43%, 12 more deaths)
• Delaware (+43%, 23 more deaths)
• Alaska (+41%, 9 more deaths)
• Hawaii (+36%, 16 more deaths)
• Washington (+31%, 78 more deaths)
• Connecticut (+29%, 43 more deaths)
• New Jersey (+27%, 14 more deaths)
• New Hampshire (+27%, 14 more deaths)
• Nebraska (+19%, 20 more deaths)

“We must not become complacent,” said Mark Chung, executive vice president of roadway practice at NSC.

“Traffic violence plagues our communities, and thousands of lives lost each month is simply unacceptable. A one percent decrease only symbolizes a glimmer of hope and serves as confirmation that now is the time to combine proven countermeasures with innovative solutions so we can save lives. The work is far from over.”

NSC estimates are subject to slight increases and decreases as the data mature. NSC collects fatality data every month from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics, so that deaths occurring within one year of the crash and on both public and private roadways — such as parking lots and driveways — are included in the estimates.

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