Preliminary Monthly Estimates

Monthly Preliminary Motor-Vehicle Fatality Estimates – December 2022

December motor-vehicle deaths up 1% from 2021
Because of COVID-19-related impacts, the number of miles driven in 2020 decreased 13.2% compared to 2019. As the country started to recover in 2021, mileage increased over 12% from 2020 lows. Now with the economy starting to slow, the number of miles driven in December 2022 decreased 1.8% compared to December 2021, and is 2.0% lower than in 2019 (pre-pandemic norm). The number of deaths for December 2022 are estimated to be 3,970. This preliminary estimate is up 1% from 2021, and up 12% from 2020. As shown in the chart below, through December, deaths are 2% below 2021 levels, but 9% above 2020. The larger number of deaths in December 2022 occurred as miles driven decreased compared to December 2021, resulting in a monthly mileage death rate increase of 3.3%. The mileage death rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven for December 2022 is 1.55, compared to 1.50 in December 2021, 1.47 in December 2020, and 1.23 in December 2019.

Mileage source: Federal Highway Administration

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In December 2022, motor-vehicle deaths decreased by 20% or more in 10 states compared to December 2021:

  • Montana (-10 deaths, -50%)
  • Vermont (-3 deaths, -50%)
  • Oklahoma (-29 deaths, -45%)
  • Idaho (-6 deaths, -43%)
  • Iowa (-9 deaths, -35%)
  • North Dakota (-1 deaths, -33%)
  • Hawaii (-3 deaths, -30%)
  • South Carolina (-22 deaths, -23%)
  • Wisconsin (-9 deaths, -21%)
  • Minnesota (-6 deaths, -20%)

Eight states and the District of Columbia experienced an increase of 45% or greater compared to December 2021:

  • Rhode Island (+10 deaths, +250%)
  • District of Columbia (+5 deaths, +200%)
  • Wyoming (+12 deaths, +150%)
  • Alaska (+8 deaths, +100%)
  • Delaware (+14 deaths, +75%)
  • South Dakota (+7 deaths, +67%)
  • Kansas (+17 deaths, +50%)
  • Maine (+11 deaths, +46%)
  • Maryland (+21 deaths, +45%)

The line chart compares the 2022 monthly fatality trends against the 2021 and 2020 trends. Adjust the filter to select which years to compare. In December 2022, 25 states reported fewer deaths compared to December 2021 preliminary reports, 1 state reported the same number of deaths, and 24 states and the District of Columbia reported more deaths in December 2022 than December 2021. Please use the data table to view detailed state preliminary estimates.

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How to Use Injury Facts® Charts and Tables
NSC preliminary motor-vehicle fatality estimates do not include U.S. territories.

How the National Safety Council Calculates Crash Fatality Estimates

The National Safety Council (NSC) collects preliminary motor-vehicle fatality estimates from data reporters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. State data reporters generally work in state Department of Transportation offices and are often the same individuals responsible for providing data to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

Each month, state data reporters provide a first estimate for the previous month’s fatalities and updated estimates for all previously reported months.

NSC maintains a three-year database of all state motor-vehicle fatality estimate reports. Using January as an example, the NSC database includes the January estimate first reported in February, as well as any updated January estimates reported in March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.

Fatality estimates tend to mature over the course of the year. Numbers often increase as fatalities are confirmed. Because of the maturation of the data, NSC calculates year-to-year percent change estimates by comparing monthly motor-vehicle estimates of comparable maturity.

To calculate national fatality estimates, percent change estimates are multiplied by the most recently available final motor-vehicle fatality estimates reported by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Therefore, NSC estimates reflect the NCHS definition of motor-vehicle fatalities as both traffic and non-traffic deaths that occur within a year of the incident. Since NHTSA counts only traffic deaths that occur within 30 days of the incident, NSC motor-vehicle fatality estimates are not comparable to NHTSA figures.

All state level data are displayed as reported by each state. All fatality estimates are preliminary. To ensure proper comparisons, 2021 state fatality estimates are preliminary figures covering the same reporting period as those for 2022. In other words, preliminary 2022 estimates are compared to preliminary 2021 and 2020 estimates, even if updated estimates are available.

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