Statement by Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), on New 2023 Projected Roadway Fatalities Data
(Washington, D.C. | September 28, 2023) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released new estimates for traffic fatalities in the first half of 2023, with 19,515 people killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. These tallies show a decrease of about 3.3% as compared to the first half of 2022. However, the number of deaths is estimated at 14.6 percent higher than the number of fatalities in the first six months of 2019 before the COVID pandemic. The slight decline is not a reason to rejoice. These are not just numbers. In just six months’ time, after experiencing a brutal crash, nearly 20,000 mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and other loved ones were suddenly killed and always will be missing from the lives of their families and friends. These tragedies can and must end.
These horrific statistics should serve as a wakeup call to our Nation’s leaders. With each passing week the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) delays completing the vehicle safety rulemakings mandated in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, Pub. L. 117-58) and other overdue statutorily mandated advances, road users inside and outside the vehicle are being violently killed and injured. We urge U.S. DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg to issue minimum performance standards for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning (LDW) and lane keeping assist (LKA) along with impaired driving prevention technology and other lifesaving safety systems immediately.
We also prevail on state and federal legislators and policy makers to use Advocates’ annual Roadmap to Safety as a guidebook for needed improvements and verified measures that can be taken now. Every driver and every road user deserve safe journeys.