An estimated 9,560 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the first three months of 2022, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is the highest first quarter total of any year since 2002. This is a continuation of a worrying trend, as fatal auto accidents have become much more common since 2020.
The number of auto fatalities nationwide in the first quarter of 2022 was 7.0% higher than in the first quarter of 2021. While traffic fatalities declined or remained even in 21 states, the other 29 states reported significant increases in fatal car crashes – including one state where traffic fatalities more than doubled.
To determine the states where auto fatalities increased the most, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. States were ranked on the increase in auto fatalities in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the first quarter of 2021.
According to the NHTSA, the spike in traffic deaths is part of a continuing trend that began during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the fatality rate per miles traveled increased significantly after the first quarter of 2020. (Sometimes fatigue contributes to car crashes. These are places where people spend the least time getting to work.)
Certain parts of the country drove the national increase in auto fatalities much more than others. In NHTSA Region 3 (Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, and Washington D.C.) traffic fatalities increased by 52% from the first quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022, by far the highest increase of any region. Region 9 (California, Arizona, and Hawaii) was the only region to report a decline in fatalities. These are the states with the worst highways.
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