Traffic Deaths Decline Again, but Remain Higher Than Pre-Pandemic

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News Releases

September 28, 2023

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

Statement by Jonathan Adkins, Chief Executive Officer, Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced today an estimated 3.3% decrease in roadway deaths in the United States in the first half of 2023. Twenty-nine states saw fewer traffic fatalities, while 21 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are projected to have more deaths this year than last.
Traffic fatalities have decreased in each of the last five quarters. This recent trend toward fewer deaths on our nation’s roads is welcome news, but these decreases pale in comparison to the troubling and unprecedented rise in dangerous driving and fatalities experienced during the height of the pandemic. The estimated 19,515 roadway deaths in the first half of 2023 announced today remain far above the 17,025 fatalities during the same period in 2019.
We cannot let this gradual progress in roadway safety lessen the urgency of the safety crisis and the need for further action. The holistic Safe System approach, outlined in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Roadway Safety Strategy in 2022, calls for using all proven countermeasures to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and deaths by creating a multi-layered safety net. This safety net includes equitable traffic enforcement focused on the most dangerous driving behaviors – such as speeding and impaired driving – that kill people every day; infrastructure that slows down drivers and protects pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized road users; community engagement campaigns developed with local input; vehicle technology that protects people both inside and outside the vehicle; and investments in post-crash care.

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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 find us on Facebook and X/Twitter.