Pedestrian fatalities alone increased by 52 last year, the highest number since 1981.  -  IMAGE: Pexels/Luke Miller

Pedestrian fatalities alone increased by 52 last year, the highest number since 1981.

IMAGE: Pexels/Luke Miller

Traffic deaths due to distracted driving fell in 2022, though fatalities increased for pedestrians and other road users outside cars.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data for the most recent available statistical year show progress is being made, especially since more vehicle miles are being traveled, but still point up the dangers of distracted driving.

Overall traffic fatalities fell about 2% to 42,514 as injuries dropped about 5% to 2.38 million, the federal transportation department agency reported.

Fatalities and injuries involving distracted drivers also fell. More than 3,300 people were killed in such accidents, down 6% year-over-year, according to the agency, which said an additional estimated 289,310 people suffered injuries.

At the same time, 621 pedestrians, cyclists and others outside of vehicles were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers, the agency said.

Taking all crashes into account, whether involving distracted drivers or not, pedestrian fatalities alone increased by 52 for the year, the highest number since 1981.

NHTSA projects that overall traffic fatalities again decreased last year by 3.6% to 42,514 for seven straight quarters of declines. That’s despite a 2% increase in vehicle miles traveled.

The agency launched an awareness campaign on the danger of distracted driving that runs through April 8. Put the Phone Away or Pay is designed to spread the word of the dangers, legal ramifications and fines that can result from driving without focus on the road. Additional enforcement is targeting drivers ages 18 to 34, the group NHTSA says is most likely to die in crashes involving distracted drivers.

“Distracted driving is extremely dangerous,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman said in a press release. “Distraction comes in many forms, but it is also preventable.”

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Originally posted on Auto Dealer Today

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