Road Deaths Decline in 2019, But Challenges Remain in COVID-19 Era
Statement by GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 36,120 people were killed on U.S. roadways in 2019, a 1.2% decrease from 2018 and the third straight year of modest declines.
This is good news, but clearly much work remains. Tens of thousands of our family members and friends continue to be killed on our nation’s roads. We must do much more to ensure we all arrive at our destination safely.
Late last month, many Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) members reported that the COVID-19 crisis has led to more speeding on our roadways rather than the significant reduction in traffic crashes we would expect with the nation sheltering at home. Now, as states begin to reopen businesses and drivers resume their normal patterns, pent up demand could lead to an increase in crashes. Americans, no doubt, are anxious to return to work, visit with friends and families, and socialize at restaurants and bars. When they do, they must extend the same care and focus on safety that has been exhibited throughout the pandemic to our roadways. Zero traffic fatalities is the only acceptable goal.
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The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.