Traffic deaths are on the rise in the United States, according to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. An estimated 20,175 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes from January through June 2022, the most in the first half of any year since 2006. (Here is a look at the deadliest year for car wrecks since seat belts became law.)

The latest increase in traffic fatalities comes as Americans are spending more time on the road. U.S. drivers traveled 43.2 billion more miles in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year.

The recent increase in traffic fatalities is a continuation of a troubling long-term trend. Deaths on American roads rose for seven consecutive quarters, from mid 2020 to early 2022. A recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the trend is partially the result of rising instances of risky behavior among motorists - including speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Some states stand out for having especially high traffic fatality rates so far this year. According to the NHTSA, there were an estimated 806 traffic fatalities in North Carolina in the first half of 2022, the fifth most among states.

After adjusting for vehicle miles traveled, North Carolina has the 11th highest traffic fatality rate in the country - with 1.44 roadway deaths for every 100 million miles traveled. For context, there were an estimated 1.27 deaths per 100 million miles nationwide in the first half of the year.

 

RankStateTraffic deaths per 100M VMT, first half of 2022Total traffic deaths, first half of 2022
1South Carolina1.71517
2Mississippi1.64341
3Arkansas1.63286
4Louisiana1.59432
5Florida1.581,951
6New Mexico1.58210
7Delaware1.5876
8Tennessee1.56636
9Texas1.52,183
10Oregon1.45250
11North Carolina1.44806
12West Virginia1.43121
13Kansas1.41205
14Georgia1.4901
15Nevada1.39194
16Alabama1.36486
17Kentucky1.34335
18Colorado1.32339
19California1.292,149
20Nebraska1.26127
21Maine1.2686
22Missouri1.23472
23Alaska1.2334
24Oklahoma1.22274
25Hawaii1.2263
26Vermont1.2140
27Connecticut1.2196
28Illinois1.19612
29Washington1.19346
30Pennsylvania1.18558
31Virginia1.16481
32Arizona1.16436
33Montana1.1372
34Michigan1.1516
35Indiana1.1455
36Ohio1.05578
37Wyoming1.0351
38New Hampshire1.0265
39Iowa0.97152
40Maryland0.96264
41New York0.95516
42New Jersey0.93342
43Wisconsin0.92280
44Utah0.91153
45Idaho0.9185
46North Dakota0.8939
47South Dakota0.8845
48Massachusetts0.68204
49Minnesota0.68187
50Rhode Island0.3814