An estimated 18,720 people died on U.S. roadways between January and June, compared to 18,770 during the same period last year, according to preliminary data from the National Safety Council (NSC). That translates to a less than 0.5% decline.
In addition, approximately 2.1 million people sustained serious crash-related injuries during the first six months of 2018 — a 1% drop from 2017 six-month projections.
In short, deaths from motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. remained stable in the first half of 2018, indicating that the recent upward trend has continued leveling off.
However, according to council, the minor decrease should not be viewed as progress, but rather as a stabilization of the steepest two-year increase in lost lives over 50 years, which occurred between 2014 and 2016.
The national outlook remains gloomy. If the preliminary 2018 estimate holds, the U.S. could see its third consecutive year with about 40,000 roadway deaths.
On the upside, early estimates indicate that some states have seen progress. In the first half of 2018, several states have experienced at least a 10% drop in motor vehicle fatalities. These include Indiana, Louisiana (down 10%), Michigan (down 15%) and New York (down 18%).
Overall, motor-vehicle deaths in the first six months of 2018 decreased by more than 13% in six states and increased by 5% or more in nine states compared to revised six month estimates for 2017. Some of the states with increases through the first six months include California (3%), Florida (7%), Oregon (9%) and Texas (3%).
Finally, the estimated cost of motor vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage nationwide through June 2018 was over $193 billion — just a 1% decrease from 2017.