Fed report: traffic fatalities down, bicyclists and pedestrian deaths up

Car accident

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released its latest projections for traffic fatalities in 2022, estimating that there was a 0.2% decrease during the first nine months of the year as compared to fatalities during the same time period in 2021. While traffic fatalities declined overall, fatalities amongst cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians continued to rise.

As compared to the first half of 2021, fatalities increased 8% among cyclists, 5% among motorcyclists and 2% among pedestrians, according to the report.

Americans continue to drive more than during the height of the pandemic, with preliminary Federal Highway Administration data showing a 1.6% increase in vehicle miles traveled, or about 39 billion miles. As a result, the estimated fatality rate for the first nine months of 2022 decreased to 1.30 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, down from the projected rate of 1.32 fatalities during the same time in 2021. 

NHTSA projects that fatalities declined slightly in the third quarter of 2022, making this the second straight quarterly decline in fatalities after seven consecutive quarters of year-to-year increases in fatalities. Those increases began in the third quarter of 2020.

“Fatalities have not increased for two quarters now, but we have far more work to do to save lives and address the crisis on our nation’s roadways," said NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson. "That means investing in safety, implementing strategies that work, and embracing the safe system approach outlined in the Department’s National Roadway Safety Strategy. We urge everyone to do their part by driving safely and watching out for others on the road, especially vulnerable road users like pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.”

The Bay Area Vision Zero Working Group is an MTC-led panel that includes members from local government, transit agencies, advocates and academia. Together, the group is working toward making streets safer for everyone in the Bay Area.

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