Preliminary analysis from the National Safety Council shows motor vehicle fatalities in the United States remain at a devastatingly high level, as an estimated 44,450 people died in traffic crashes in 2023. While it marks a 4% decline from 2022, compared to pre-pandemic 2019, it’s a 13.6% uptick.

Contributing Safety Issues

Safety issues such as speeding, distracted and impaired driving are all contributing factors to the tens of thousands of people lost in NCS called preventable crashes on U.S. roads each year. To address the importance of policies that support a Safe System Approach to eliminate motor vehicle fatalities, NSC and its advocacy partners are heading to Capitol Hill to meet with federal legislators during infrastructure week to advocate for much-needed change.

Battling Distracted Driving

“The most dangerous thing most people in our country do in a single day is use the U.S. roadway system. This public health crisis is an atrocity that must continue to be addressed,” said Mark Chung, executive vice president of roadway practice at NSC. “No one should die getting to or from their homes, schools and workplaces, but the current system was not designed with the safety of all road users in mind.”

States with a Decrease in Fatalities

According to the analysis, 12 states experienced decreases in motor vehicle fatalities of 10% or more in 2023. Those states are:

  • Alaska
  • Maine
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Massachusetts
  • Connecticut
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Utah
  • Georgia
  • New York
  • Louisiana

States with an Increase in Fatalities

Conversely, seven states and the nation’s capital experienced increases of 10% or more compared to 2022 preliminary estimates. In addition to the District of Columbia, those states are:

  • Rhode Island
  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • North Dakota
  • Maryland
  • Kentucky

Safe System Approach

Embracing the Safe System Approach at national, state, and local levels is a critical step toward eliminating traffic fatalities nationwide, NSC said.

The Safe System Approach takes a holistic look at road safety by examining five elements of a safe transportation system:

  • Road users
  • Speed management
  • Vehicles
  • Roads
  • Post-crash care

Over two years ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation adopted the approach in its National Roadway Safety Strategy and NSC joined as an Ally in Action, pledging to do its part to save lives on the roads. The road ahead may be long, but the shared commitment to saving lives is real and zero is possible, NSC added.

Data Increases/Decreases

Motor vehicle fatality estimates are subject to slight increases and decreases as data mature. The National Safety Council uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the CDC, so that deaths occurring within 100 days of the crash and on both public and private roadways – such as parking lots and driveways – are included in the council’s estimates.

The National Safety Council has calculated traffic fatality estimates since 1913. Supplemental estimate information, including estimates for each state, can be found online.

About the author
News/Media Release

News/Media Release


Our editorial staff has selected and edited this news release for clarity and brand style because we believe it is relevant to our audience.

View Bio