NewsNationalScripps News

Fatalities in US road crashes declined last year, NHTSA says

NHTSA's annual estimate, released Monday, includes projections that 40,990 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2023.
Fatalities in US road crashes declined last year, NHTSA says
Posted at 8:07 PM, Apr 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-01 20:08:05-04

Close to 41,000 people died on U.S. roadways last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said, a total that was 3.6% lower than in the year before.

NHTSA's annual estimate, released Monday, includes projections that 40,990 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2023.

Estimated total vehicle miles traveled notched up a little more than 2% during the same period.

Together, these changes caused the death rate to decline to 1.26 deaths per 100 million miles driven.

In 2022, 42,514 people died in crashes, making a death rate of 1.33 per 100 million miles driven. Since the second quarter of that year, traffic fatalities have declined every quarter.

SEE MORE: Lowering your speed by just 5 mph could make the roads safer

But authorities are still concerned with the current rate of driving deaths, particularly those caused by distracted driving, which accounted for more than 3,000 deaths and more than a quarter million injuries in 2022. 

People outside a vehicle, like pedestrians and bicyclists, are also still at increased risk from distracted drivers: The proportion of fatalities by those outside the vehicle in a crash have been increasing for years. In 2022, non-occupant fatalities in traffic crashes reached their highest rate since 1981.

On April 1 the NHTSA launched a new "Put the Phone Away or Pay" awareness campaign to reduce distracted driving. During the first week of April it will focus on drivers from 18 to 34 years old, who are statistically most likely to die in distracted driving crashes.

"Distraction comes in many forms, but it is also preventable," said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman. "Our rebranded campaign reminds everyone to Put the Phone Away or Pay, because distracted driving can cost you in fines — or even cost your life or the life of someone else on the road."


Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com