NSC Estimates 21,150 People Died on U.S. Roads in First Half of 2023

Analysis shows a slight decrease compared to 2022, but more is needed to save lives.

August 23, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Preliminary estimates released by the National Safety Council show traffic deaths in the U.S. are on a slight decline through the first six months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. From January 2023 through June 2023, an estimated 21,150 people died in preventable motor vehicle crashes in the United States, down 3% from the first six months of last year.

“While there is a glimmer of hope that progress is being made, these estimates are still a stark reminder of the work that lies ahead,” said Mark Chung, executive vice president of roadway practice at the National Safety Council. “Every life lost on the road is a profound tragedy that leaves a lasting impact on families, friends and communities, and every single one of those deadly crashes was preventable. The estimates further underscore the urgent need for continued efforts to improve road safety across the nation through the implementation of the Safe System approach.”

NSC analysis also shows the decrease in deaths occurred even as mileage increased 2.3% through the first six months of 2023 compared to 2022. With the decrease in deaths and increase in mileage, the mileage death rate decreased 5.6% to 1.34 per 100 million vehicle miles travelled from 1.42 in 2022.

As the nation looks forward to the rest of the year — historically, the deadlier half of the year — the National Safety Council implores employers, policymakers, community leaders and individuals to come together across public and private sectors to prioritize safer roads, safer speeds, safer vehicles, safer people and better post-crash care to save lives on the path towards zero traffic fatalities in the United States. NSC also applauds the recently announced proposals by the U.S. Department of Transportation to equip all vehicles with lifesaving automatic emergency braking and seat belt use notification technology. Both technologies should be implemented without delay to save lives.

NSC estimates are subject to slight increases and decreases as the data mature. NSC collects fatality data every month from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics, so that deaths occurring within one year of the crash and on both public and private roadways—such as parking lots and driveways—are included in the estimates. NSC motor vehicle fatality estimates and supplemental estimate information, including estimates for each state, can be found here.

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for nearly 110 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.

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