US traffic deaths fall slightly in Q2, but deaths remain high

DETROIT — The number of people killed on U.S. roadways fell slightly from April through June, the first decline in two years. But the government says the number of deaths remains at a crisis level.

Estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 20,175 people died in crashes from January through June, an increase of 0.5% over the same period last year.

The small second-quarter decline came after seven-straight quarters of increases that started in in the third quarter of 2020.

The drop might signal that traffic deaths are finally dropping after an increase fueled by more risky driving that happened as roads were clear of traffic during lockdowns early in the pandemic.

“We all hope this is the start of a downward trend in fatalities,” NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson told a group of road safety officials Monday. Even with the small decline, Carlson said “this is not the new normal we want.”