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NHTSA traffic fatality projections show decline for first half of 2023

Latest projections align with data released by National Safety Council

Projections for the first half of 2023 show traffic fatalities decreased about 3.3% compared to the same timeframe last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The projected statistics released by NHTSA on Thursday show a decline in fatalities for the fifth consecutive quarter.

The downward pattern for fatalities comes despite a roughly 2.3% increase in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for the first six months of the year. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released preliminary data showing a VMT increase of about 35.1 billion miles.

The National Safety Council (NSC) in August released its projections for traffic fatalities for January to June of 2023. It estimated a 3% decrease for that six-month period in 2023 from the same timeframe the prior year.

The NSC uses National Center for Health Statistics data for validating its estimates.

The NHTSA report estimates 19,515 people died in motor vehicle crashes from January through June this year compared to 20,190 in the first half of 2022.

“While we are encouraged to see traffic fatalities continue to decline from the height of the pandemic, there’s still significantly more work to be done,” NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson said with the release of the agency’s report. “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. We will continue to work with our safety partners to meet the collective goal of zero fatalities.” 

The NHTSA report estimates 29 states saw a decrease in fatalities whereas 21 plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., are projected to have an increase.

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