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Traffic Fatalities Drop Slightly, But Remain at Historic Highs

Jun 22, 2023

Corinne Kisner, Executive Director of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), today issued the following statement in response to projections from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that show 9,330 people died in traffic crashes in the U.S. in the first three months of 2023, a 3.3% decrease from the same period last year, but still the second-highest first quarter for fatalities on record:

In the midst of a national traffic safety crisis, first-quarter traffic fatalities dropped slightly for the first time after years of surging upward – a hopeful sign, but one that cannot make us complacent with more than 40,000 people per year dying on American roads.

The death toll on our country’s streets remains far higher than that of any other industrialized country, and pedestrian deaths are at a forty-year high. The simple culprits – too many U.S. roads designed to move vehicles quickly instead of keeping people safe; unsafe or nonexistent infrastructure for people walking, biking, and taking transit; and SUVs that continue to increase in size – require urgent, all-hands-on-deck, multifaceted solutions from all levels of government.

We know how to save lives. Remove red tape preventing cities from using proven safe street designs. Reform our outdated approach to setting speed limits. Reimagine our most dangerous streets. Rethink federal vehicle safety ratings so consumers aren’t misled about the safety of the cars, trucks, and SUVs they purchase. Push states to use the funding from the federal infrastructure bill to build safe streets, transit lanes, sidewalks, and bike networks instead of expanding highways.

These new numbers show us that we are not destined to accept ever-higher numbers of people dying on our roads. Now we must accelerate our work to stem this deadly and preventable crisis.


About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

NACTO is an association of 96 major North American cities and transit agencies formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. The organization’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter at @NACTO and Instagram at @NACTOcities.

Press Contact

Alex Engel | [email protected]

Billy Richling | [email protected]

For Immediate Release

June 22, 2023