NSC Statement on NHTSA Motor Vehicle Fatality Data for Q3 of 2020

January 14, 2021

Itasca, Ill. – The National Safety Council is discouraged, though unsurprised, by the data released Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the first nine months of 2020. NHTSA preliminary estimates track with estimates NSC analyzed over the same period of time, and both data sets paint a dark picture of the state of safety on our nation’s roadways. Vehicle miles traveled have dropped precipitously since the pandemic, but the number of deaths has not followed. We should be able to show a significant safety benefit from having less traffic. Instead, in the midst of the worst health crisis in more than a century, we are experiencing even deadlier roadways – and motor vehicle crashes have been a persistent public health threat.

Next week, the nation will inaugurate a new administration. While the primary focus will rightly be on inoculating our nation from COVID-19, we urge President-elect Biden and Secretary-designate of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to prioritize roadway safety, which has been negatively impacted during the pandemic. We can get to zero traffic fatalities if we double down on what works, accelerate technological solutions and embrace a culture of safety through a safe system approach. The new NHTSA data underscore why zero is the only acceptable number.

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for over 100 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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