Traffic Tragedies: Traffic deaths continued to drop in 2023 but were still worse than pre-pandemic years, says NHTSA report

Toronto, Ontario — Traffic accident deaths have continued to decline from the pandemic but are still worse than pre-pandemic years, says a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The NHTSA specifically notes that traffic deaths fell 3.6 percent last year to 40,990, and this is down from 2022’s figures of 42,514 deaths. However, these numbers still remain higher than any pre-pandemic year since 2008.

The NHTSA contributes these numbers to greater instances if impaired and distracted driving as well as speeding, but the agency also notes that the figures represent a decline in certain areas of the pandemic in which less drivers on the road due to lockdowns led to highly elevated instances of speeding.

Moreover, although traffic deaths fell between 2022 and 2023, the report further outlines that the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths grew in 2022 with a total of 7,522 pedestrians and 1,105 cyclists being killed over the period. These numbers represent the highest since 1981 for pedestrians and 1980 for cyclists.

More drivers 65 and older also died in 2022, up 4.7 percent to 7,870 casualties—the most since the NHTSA started record keeping in 1975.

The agency has released these numbers as part of its “Put the phone Away or Pay” safety campaign, stating that while traffic deaths may be on a slow decline, increase in technology means that distracted driving remains a significant threat to “vulnerable road users.”

To see the full report, click here. 


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