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Traffic deaths projected to decline for first time since 2020, transportation officials say

Deaths from car crashes are anticipated to decline for the first time since 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While the agency estimates that traffic fatalities overall are up 0.5% in the first half of this year (20,175) when compared with period in 2021 (20,070), officials said Monday the second quarter (April to June) witnessed the first decline in traffic deaths in seven consecutive quarters.

“Traffic deaths appear to be declining for the first time since 2020, but they are still at high levels that call for urgent and sustained action,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a press release. “These deaths are preventable, not inevitable, and we should act accordingly.”

Traffic deaths first began ticking up during the third quarter of 2020.

Ann Carlson, NHTSA’s acting administrator, said Monday that traffic fatalities started rising two years ago when stay-at-home orders cleared out roads and drivers began driving more recklessly and while impaired, according to ABC News.

The overall number of crashes declined despite the steady rise in deaths, according to Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety.

“What it may be is that we’re seeing an easing of some of the issues that were caused by the pandemic — some of the speeding, open roads, risky driving issues,” Mr. Brooks said, according to ABC.

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