National study shows fatalities are increasing for traveling public

June 30, 2022

TRIP, a national nonprofit transportation research organization, released a study this week that chronicles alarming national trends in motorist, bicycle and pedestrian safety. In essence, it documents significant increases in fatalities, even as vehicle travel rates dropped due to the COVID pandemic.

The data show an abrupt reversal in fatality rates, which had been dropping before the pandemic. The data show that U.S. traffic fatalities increased by 19% from 2019 to 2021.

Pennsylvania’s data track with national trends. Traffic fatalities during the same period increased by 17% in Pennsylvania, and fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled increased by 24%, while vehicle miles traveled decreased by 6% per billion.

Nationally, bicycle and pedestrian fatalities also increased significantly. Bicycle fatalities increased by 16%, and pedestrian fatalities by 18%.

Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that the fatality increases were related to increased risks being taken by drivers. These risks include speeding, failure to wear seat belts and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

To combat the increase in fatalities, in early 2022 the U.S. Department of Transportation adopted a comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy, a roadmap for addressing the nation’s roadway safety crisis based on a “Safe System” approach, which is also being adopted by state and local transportation agencies. For more information, click here.

The TRIP study also said that new funding for improved roadway safety through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide additional resources to address traffic safety.

Click here to view the TRIP report, appendix, infographics and video interview footage with report authors.


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