In the first quarter of this year, U.S. traffic deaths reached a high not seen since 2002, according to earlier estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). During the period, traffic fatalities increased 7% compared to the year prior. An estimated 9,560 motorists died in accidents in the first quarter.

This rise in traffic deaths is continuing a trend from 2021, which saw traffic fatalities reach a 16-year high, according to the NHTSA. During the first quarter of 2021, U.S. traffic deaths rose more than 13%.

"The overall numbers are still moving in the wrong direction. Now is the time for all states to double down on traffic safety. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, there are more resources than ever for research, interventions and effective messaging and programs that can reverse the deadly trend and save lives," said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA's Administrator.

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Steve Hallo

Steve Hallo is managing editor of He can be reached at [email protected]