Roadway deaths in the United States continued to hover just above 46,000 in 2022, according to recently released preliminary fatality estimates from the National Safety Council (NSC). Specifically, the estimate of total motor-vehicle deaths in 2022 is 46,270, down 2% from 46,980 in 2021 but up 9% from 42,339 in 2020.
Moreover, compared to pre-pandemic 2019, the mileage death rate in 2022 increased nearly 22%, showing just how dangerous it is to use American roads.
Safety advocates say things are not improving and there are far too many preventable deaths on the nation’s highways and byways.
Some states fared worse than others in 2022. Specifically, 10 states experienced a rise in deaths of 14% or more last year. For example, Alaska deaths were up 27%, Hawaii’s increased by 24%, while both Wyoming’s and Maine’s fatalities rose 20%. In addition, New Hampshire and Delaware experienced 19% increases, Connecticut saw a 17% rise, Nebraska 16%, and Washington and Indiana both saw deaths rise by 14%.
On the upside, some eight states and the District of Columbia made good headway in reducing crashes, seeing a 10% or higher drop in traffic deaths according to the council’s preliminary estimates. Specifically, Oklahoma’s fatalities decreased by 25%, Idaho’s by 19%, and Rhode Island’s by 17%. The District of Columbia and West Virginia both experienced a 15% drop in deaths, Montana saw a 14% dip, Minnesota and South Dakota each reduced fatalities by 12%, and Arizona’s deaths decreased by 10%.
Motor vehicle fatality estimates are subject to slight increases and decreases as data mature. NSC uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the Centers for Disease Control, so that deaths occurring within one year of the crash, both traffic and non-traffic crashes occurring on private roadways — such as parking lots and driveways — are included in NSC’s estimates.