Severity of car crashes is on the rise

Traffic fatalities in Washington were up 39% in the first quarter of 2022.

Car crashes have gotten more severe.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 9,560 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first quarter of 2022. That’s an increase of about 7% from the first quarter of 2021 and the highest number of first-quarter fatalities since 2002.

Traffic deaths have been steadily increasing for years, jumping from 32,479 in 2011 to 42,915 nationwide last year.

The same NHTSA report notes that in Washington, the number of traffic fatalities in the first quarter of 2022 was 161 — up almost 39% from the same time frame in 2021 (116).

That’s not a promising outlook, particularly after Washington hit a 20-year high in 2021 with 663 traffic deaths, per the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

Even worse, a study from Seattle-based QuoteWizard — and published in The Seattle Times — noted that Washington was an outlier with the sixth-highest increase in deaths on the road from the first half of 2021 to the first half of 2022. The figure jumped from 249 to 327 for a 31% increase, according to preliminary data.

It isn’t limited to auto accidents, either. The total number of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities increased by 26% from 2020 to 2021, climbing from 123 to 155 according to the Washington State Department of Transportation’s quarterly report.

While accidents are on the rise, you can take steps to stay safe on the road — and keep your own rates down.

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WA State Office of the Insurance Commissioner

WA State Office of the Insurance Commissioner

Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler regulates the insurance industry and protects insurance consumers.