Traffic Deaths Lower in First Half of 2023 Than Year Prior

Sept. 29, 2023
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says there is still more work to do.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released its early estimates of traffic fatalities for the first half of 2023, estimating that traffic fatalities declined for the fifth straight quarter.

An estimated 19,515 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes, representing a decrease of about 3.3% as compared to 20,190 fatalities in the first half of 2022. Fatalities declined in both the first and second quarters of 2023.   

Continuing the trend identified in the first quarter estimates released in June, preliminary data shows vehicle miles traveled in the first half of 2023 increased by about 35.1 billion miles, roughly 2.3% higher than the same time last year. More miles driven combined with fewer traffic deaths resulted in a fatality rate of 1.24 fatalities per 100 million vmt, down from the projected rate of 1.31 fatalities per 100 million vmt in the first half of 2023.  

“After spiking during the pandemic, traffic deaths are continuing to slowly come down—but we still have a long way to go,” U.S. Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg said in a press release. “Safety has always been the core mission of this Department, and thanks to President Biden, we are delivering unprecedented resources to communities across the country to make their streets safer.”

“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 in the release. “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 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests billions into roadway safety, including programs to help states improve driver behavior and prevent traffic crashes and fatalities. In Fiscal Year 2023, states received $886 million in highway safety formula grants and are using those funds to address risky driving behaviors, protect vulnerable road users, and engage new partners to strengthen their programs.     

U.S. DOT also launched the next phase of the National Roadway Safety Strategy, the Call to Action campaign, and released a one-year progress report with accompanying data visualizations that highlight the extent and magnitude of the U.S. roadway safety problem and ways to eventually bring the number of deaths on our roads to zero.    


Source: The U.S. Department of Transportation