The variety of individuals killed on U.S. roadways fell barely from April via June, the primary decline in two years as pandemic-era reckless driving appeared to ease. However the authorities says the variety of deaths stays at a disaster degree.
Estimates from the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration present that 20,175 individuals died in crashes from January via June, a 0.5% improve over the identical interval final yr.
But the second-quarter decline ended a string of seven straight quarterly will increase that started in the summertime of 2020 with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The company estimated that 10,590 individuals died this yr on roadways from April to June, almost 5% fewer than the identical interval a yr in the past.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg mentioned whereas deaths could also be declining, they’re nonetheless at ranges that require pressing motion. “These deaths are preventable, not inevitable, and we must always act accordingly,” he mentioned in a press release.
NHTSA Appearing Administrator Ann Carlson instructed a bunch of state security officers Monday that she hopes the latest decline is the start of a downward pattern, however that the variety of deaths stays unacceptable. “That’s not the brand new regular we wish,” she instructed the Governors Freeway Security Affiliation.
Fatalities started to rise two years in the past when roads had been largely empty as a result of stay-at-home orders in lots of states. With much less site visitors, speeds elevated as did reckless and impaired driving, resulting in a file spike in deaths final yr. Many individuals weren’t carrying seat belts, the federal government mentioned.
Carlson mentioned that as a result of the estimates for this yr are early, the company would not have specifics about why fatalities dropped. Company estimates are sometimes near precise numbers, which will not be launched till later within the yr.
There additionally was a small second-quarter drop within the site visitors loss of life price per 100 million miles pushed, from 1.34 within the second quarter of 2021, to 1.27 this yr, Carlson mentioned.
Auto security advocates welcomed the dip however mentioned there’s extra the Biden administration might be doing to scale back site visitors fatalities.
For a lot of months now, crashes have declined at the same time as deaths have surged, suggesting reckless driving that might now be declining as places of work reopen and extra automobiles return to the street, mentioned Michael Brooks, govt director of the nonprofit Heart for Auto Security.
“What it might be is that we’re seeing an easing of a few of the points that had been attributable to the pandemic—rushing, open roads, dangerous driving points,” Brooks mentioned. “Site visitors is returning to regular, the roads aren’t as empty as they had been.”
“The very fact is the fatality price remains to be very, very excessive,” he mentioned. “There’s a lot that is still to be carried out.”
Buttigieg earlier this yr unveiled a nationwide technique geared toward reversing the pattern of rising deaths, together with new federal steering and billions in grants below President Joe Biden’s infrastructure legislation over the subsequent two years to spur states and localities to decrease pace limits and embrace safer street design. However auto security teams say the Biden administration has remained sluggish to behave in different areas, corresponding to rulemaking to mandate automated emergency braking in all passenger autos as required below the 2021 infrastructure legislation.
“I feel it is untimely to be hopeful concerning the slight dip in fatalities particularly contemplating the great loss that we have skilled during the last couple years,” mentioned Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Freeway and Auto Security.
“We do know good security methods, if applied, will stop many crashes,” she mentioned.
Practically 43,000 individuals had been killed on U.S. roads final yr, the best quantity in 16 years as People returned to the roads. The ten.5% bounce over 2020 numbers was the biggest proportion improve since NHTSA started its fatality information assortment system in 1975.
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US site visitors deaths dip in Q2 however nonetheless excessive as pandemic eases (2022, September 19)
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