Another Tragic Increase in U.S. Roadway Deaths Feels Like Groundhog Day, but Can Be Reversed

Resource Type
News Releases

August 17, 2022

CONTACT: Adam Snider (GHSA), 202-580-7930
202-365-8971 (after hours)

Statement by Jonathan Adkins, Executive Director, Governors Highway Safety Association

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated today that 9,560 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first quarter of 2022 – up 7% from the year before and the highest number of deaths between January and March in 20 years. First quarter roadway fatalities have jumped 42% since 2011, and the death rate measured by vehicle miles traveled has risen 30% during that time. Tragically, the U.S. is on its way to a third straight year of surging roadway deaths.

Another new report of an increase in lives lost may feel a bit like Groundhog Day, but we must not become desensitized to the tragedy of roadway deaths. Instead, our country must focus on immediately implementing the National Roadway Safety Strategy that was released by the U. S. Department of Transportation earlier this year in partnership with leading safety organizations including GHSA.

Today’s awful news underscores the urgency of implementing this strategy and the need for strong and consistent leadership at NHTSA. Unfortunately, last week NHTSA Administrator Steve Cliff announced his departure. GHSA and other leading national safety groups have urged President Biden to quickly nominate a qualified individual that can guide NHTSA through this turbulent time in traffic safety. The National Roadway Safety Strategy demands that all levels of government be bold and aggressive in making our roadways safer and a strong NHTSA can and should lead that charge.

NHTSA Chief Counsel Ann Carlson, who will assume Cliff’s duties in an acting capacity, will keynote the opening session at the GHSA 2022 Annual Meeting, September 17-21, in Louisville, Kentucky. The partnership between NHTSA and states is essential to driving down roadway crashes, deaths and injuries. GHSA is pleased that Carlson will also be meeting with state safety leaders while in Louisville to discuss how we can strengthen our partnership to reverse this trend and save lives. That can and must be done.

# # #

About GHSA

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Visit for more information or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.