An estimated 20,175 people lost their lives in traffic collisions in the first half of 2022, according to early estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The number represents just a slight increase of 0.5% in 2022 as compared to the 20,070 fatalities NHTSA projected for the first six months of 2021.
Even more promising, the government agency projects that the second quarter of this year — April-June of 2022 — saw the first decline in roadway fatalities after seven consecutive quarters of year-to-year increases in deaths that began in the third quarter of 2020.
While there are still far too many lost lives on the nation’s highways and byways, the news indicates that the country is at least moving in the right direction. Even so, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg noted in a statement, “Traffic deaths are still at high levels that call for urgent and sustained action.”
At the beginning of 2022, Secretary Buttigieg launched the National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS), which outlines the Transportation Department’s comprehensive approach to reducing serious injuries and deaths on highways, roads, and streets.
Several NRSS action steps are already underway. For example, the Federal Highway Administration issued Complete Streets guidance and is urging States to develop complete streets using formula funding from the government. In addition, NHTSA has proposed to add four more advanced driver assistance technologies to its New Car Assessment Program. And most recently, NHTSA issued a final rulemaking on rear impact guards for trailers and semitrailers.