Connecticut led the nation for the biggest rise in traffic fatalities in 2022 with a 29% increase over 2021, according to a recent report from Quote Wizard.
While nationwide fatalities remained flat from 2021 to 2022, the highways and byways continue to be dangerous with some 42,795 traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2022.
According to the report, increases and decreases in roadway deaths vary greatly from state to state. In 2022, fatalities increased by 10% or more in 13 states and decreased by 10% or more in five states.
Other states beyond Connecticut that ranked among the top five for largest increases in motor vehicles deaths in 2022 include New Hampshire with a 25% increase, followed by Hawaii (23%), Wyoming (22%), and Alaska (21%).
Conversely, Idaho experienced the greatest decrease in deaths — 19% or 219 lost lives in 2022 as compared to 271 in 2021. The improvement in Idaho is noteworthy since it ranked as the most dangerous state for traffic fatalities between 2020 and 2021, with a staggering 30% increase.
Other states that ranked among the top five for the greatest decreases in fatalities include Rhode Island, Montana, and South Dakota — all of which saw a 14% reduction in fatalities. And, Mississippi, which reduced roadway deaths by 10%.
Why U.S. Roads Remain Risky
The Quote Wizard report also explores specific driver behaviors and other issues that continue to make the nation’s roadways risky.
For example, the report cites distracted driving as the leading cause of vehicle fatalities. From 2017 to 2021, there were 14,620 fatal crashes involving distracted driving in the U.S., notes Quote Wizard.
Speeding is another problem that endangers our roadways and worsened during the pandemic. In 2021, speeding killed 12,330 people, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Although speeding is definitely a top cause of traffic accidents nationwide, fatalities caused by speeding decreased 6% in 2022, notes the report.
The type of roadway and method of transportation also have a substantial impact on the severity of a crash. Slow rural roads and rural highways saw the biggest increases in fatal crashes, while urban roads became safer over the past year.
From 2021 to 2022, fatalities on rural collector and rural arterial roads rose 8% and 7%, respectively. Deaths on interstates increased by 5%. However, fatalities on urban arterial and urban collector roads decreased by 6% and 8%, respectively.
The report also notes that while pedestrian fatalities declined, pedal cyclist deaths increased 11%. Finally, incidents involving large trucks increased 13% from 2020 to 2021 but rose only 2% from 2021 to 2022.