Traffic fatalities down in first quarter of 2023

June 22, 2023

Tyson Fisher


Preliminary traffic fatality numbers for the first quarter of 2023 are in, and the numbers are slightly down.

According to the latest numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 9,330 traffic fatalities in first quarter 2023. That is a 3.3% decrease compared to first quarter 2022. The decrease also marks the fourth straight quarterly decline in traffic deaths after seven consecutive quarters of year-to-year increases.

A decrease in traffic fatalities comes despite an increase in vehicle miles traveled.

In the first three months of 2023, vehicle miles traveled increased by 2.6%. Historically, traffic deaths tend to increase when vehicle miles increase.

The traffic fatality rate for the first quarter of this year also fell from 1.32 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled last year to a rate of 1.24. That marks the lowest rate since the first quarter of 2020 when the rate was 1.08.

All 10 regions of the country experienced a decrease in traffic fatalities. Region 1 (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont), Region 3 (District of Columbia, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia) and Region 6 (Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) each experienced a 5% decrease, the largest in the nation. With a 1% decrease, Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington) experienced the smallest drop in traffic deaths.

A total of 32 states saw decreases in traffic fatalities. States that had increases in traffic deaths include Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. Mississippi has the highest fatality rate (1.99), whereas Minnesota has the lowest (0.41).

Traffic fatality numbers for 2022 and 2023 are still preliminary. Estimates will be further refined when the projections for the first six months of 2023 are released in late September. LL

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