Crashes by Month

Travel patterns have largely returned to normal in 2021 from the highly unusual patterns experienced during the heart of the pandemic in 2020. In 2021, miles traveled was lowest in January and February and peaked in July. Similarly, the number of traffic deaths were lowest from January through March and remained elevated from May through October.

Looking at death rate per 100 million vehicle miles, the lowest rate occurred in March and peaked in October. The mileage death rate helps correct for the variation in monthly mileage and is a more accurate measure of risk when comparing trends.

Monthly trends by year can also be explored by adjusting the filter at the top of the interactive chart. Scroll through the years to contrast the 2021 fatality patterns compared to previous years. Over the last several years, January and February generally experienced the fewest motor-vehicle fatalities, while July, August, or October experienced the most.

Much of the variation in monthly motor-vehicle fatalities is associated with the number of vehicle miles. During the winter months, both vehicle miles and deaths go down, while in the summer months, vehicle miles and deaths increase.

In a typical year, the death rate per 100 million vehicle miles does not fluctuate to the same degree as do fatalities during the course of the year.

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Source: National Safety Council (NSC) analysis of NCHS mortality data reflecting total motor vehicle deaths that include both traffic and nontraffic incidents.