In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSAs) latest projections for traffic fatalities in 2022, we see a slight decrease in traffic fatalities after two years of dramatic increases during the Covid pandemic. Estimates indicate that 31,785 people died in traffic crashes in the first nine months of the year, which is a 0.2% decrease when compared to the 31,850 estimated fatalities during the first nine months of 2021.
Estimated traffic fatality rate decreases
The numbers look even better when you calculate the fatality rate. The traffic fatality rate is the ratio of the total number of fatalities to the number of vehicle miles traveled in a calendar year, expressed per 100 million miles traveled. With an estimated 1.6 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled over 2021, 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 this same period in 2021. This is a big deal because it is the second straight quarterly decline in traffic fatalities after a bad run of seven year-to-year quarterly increases that began in the third quarter of 2020.
Cyclist and pedestrian fatalities still rising
While the overall traffic fatality rate declined, NHTSA estimates that fatalities for motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians continued to rise as did crashes involving at least one large truck and crashes on rural interstates. Safety experts urge drivers to be more aware of cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians and avoid dangerous driving behaviors that increase the risk of accidents such as distracted driving, driving under the influence, and speeding.
On the bright side, traffic fatalities decreased for children under the age of 16 and people ages 16 to 24. Crashes on urban collector and local roads also decreased, along with lower rates of vehicle rollover crashes, crashes involving passengers ejected from a vehicle, crashes involving people not wearing seatbelts, and crashes involving speeding.
It is encouraging to see crashes involving speeding decrease because that was a major contributing factor to the increase in traffic fatalities we experienced over the last two years. According to the WHO, speed is a known key risk factor in traffic accident injuries, as it impacts both the risk of motor vehicle crashes and the severity of the injuries. In fact, excessive and inappropriate speeding are responsible for 30 percent of traffic accident deaths in high income countries like the United States.
Allstate reported at the time that the crashes happening during the pandemic seemed to include more serious injuries because drivers were speeding more on the empty streets.
Despite a slight decrease in traffic fatalities last year, we know there are still people being seriously injured and killed in motor vehicle accidents. If you are unsure what your claim is worth or you’re having trouble with the claims adjuster low-balling your settlement, contact a car accident lawyer for help.
Seek the help of a car accident lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured in a collision because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!