From the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today (note that it takes 4.5 months for the federal government to report on traffic crash trends):
A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2022 shows that an estimated 9,560 people
died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents an increase of about 7.0 percent as compared to 8,935 fatalities projected to have occurred in the first quarter of 2021, as shown in Table 1. This also represents the highest number of fatalities in Q1 since 2002.
As a society, we really should have fewer car crash deaths over the last 20 years, not no progress. We seem to have fewer plane crash deaths.
As you’ll recall, when people stopped driving so much in Mid-March 2020, the few out on the streets took tended to take advantage of the empty streets and socially distanced (i.e., slacking off) cops to drive like bats out of hell, so deaths per miles driven went way up.
Then, with the Mostly Peaceful Protests in June 2020, black car crash deaths exploded.
Much of the 7.0% increase from Q1-21 to Q1-22 is due to 5.6% more miles being driven. But, we’re not getting back to the Good Old Days of 2019:
Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the first 3 months of 2022 increased by about 40.2 billion miles, or about a 5.6 percent increase.
Also shown in Table 1 are the fatality rates per 100 million VMT, by quarter. The fatality rate for the first quarter of 2022
increased to 1.27 fatalities per 100 million VMT, up from the projected rate of 1.25 fatalities per 100 million VMT.
But last winter’s traffic deaths per million miles driven was a ridiculous 28% higher than in winter of 2014.
Like murders, traffic deaths didn’t “spike” in 2020, they plateaued. Were still in the New Normal of more shootings and more crashes.
Another factor is that likely all the stimulation (from 2020 to ?) of the economy put cash in the hands of extremely marginal drivers, especially blacks. (Poor whites typically live out in the sticks where they need to drive so they already have cars, whereas poor blacks tend to live in big cities with public transportation, so getting a car with a stimulus check is a luxury.)
But, looking at fatalities per quarter since 1979, we can notice two main effects: recessions drive down car deaths:
But the two Black Lives Matter eras coincided with unprecedented rises in traffic fatalities.
If you stop and think about it, it makes sense. When Society tells cops that they are stopping bad drivers, especially black bad drivers, too often, then cops will go get a donut. Drivers will figure out that the cops don’t seem very active, so it’s fun to speed. And more will die.