Highway fatalities rose 12% through September 2021, NHTSA estimates

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Updated Feb 3, 2022

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022:

2021 highway fatality estimates continue to grow

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its early estimate of traffic fatalities for the first nine months of 2021, which projects that an estimated 31,720 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes from January through September 2021.

These numbers, if proven accurate, represent an increase of approximately 12% from the 28,325 fatalities projected for the first nine months of 2020. The projection is the highest number of fatalities during the first nine months of any year since 2006 and the highest percentage increase during the first nine months in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s history.

While the number of fatalities is projected to have increased in 2021 over 2020, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled only slightly increased.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, vehicle miles traveled in the first nine months of 2021 increased by about 244 billion miles, an 11.7% increase from the same time in 2020. 

NHTSA highway fatalities by regionNine out of 10 NHTSA regions saw an increase in highway fatalities through the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.The fatality rate for the first nine months of 2021 increased to 1.36 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, a marginal increase from the projected rate of 1.35 fatalities in the same time in 2020. The fatality rates in the second and third quarters of 2021 declined compared to 2020.

The new estimates come days after the U.S. Department of Transportation released the federal government’s first-ever National Roadway Safety Strategy, a roadmap to address the national crisis in roadway fatalities and serious injuries.

“This is a national crisis. We cannot and must not accept these deaths as an inevitable part of everyday life,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The good news is we now have a strategy, as well as the resources and programs to deliver it, thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The National Roadway Safety Strategy is America’s first-ever national, comprehensive plan to significantly reduce deaths and injuries on our roads.” 

The early estimate report also provides the first look at state-level traffic fatality estimates during the pandemic. Compared to 2020, NHTSA projects that during the first nine months of 2021, fatalities increased in 38 states, remained flat in two states, and decreased in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

Diesel’s 2022 climb continues

Diesel fuel prices during the week ending Jan. 31 jumped another 6.6 cents, marking the fourth straight week with an increase, totaling a 23.3-cent increase since the beginning of 2022, according to the Department of Energy’s weekly update.

The U.S.’ average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel is now $3.846, the highest since the week ending Aug. 4, 2014, when a gallon of diesel cost $3.853.

Prices increased in all regions across the country last week, with the most significant increase being seen in the Gulf Coast region, where prices jumped 7.7 cents.

The nation’s most expensive diesel can be found in California at $4.862 per gallon, followed by the West Coast less California at $4.184 per gallon.

The cheapest fuel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $3.608 per gallon, followed by Midwest at $3.714 per gallon.

Prices in other regions, according to DOE, are:

  • New England – $3.833
  • Central Atlantic – $4.002
  • Lower Atlantic – $3.761
  • Rocky Mountain – $3.757

ProMiles’ numbers during the same week saw fuel prices increase by 4.8 cents, bringing its national average to $3.66 per gallon.

According to ProMiles’ Fuel Surcharge Index, the most expensive diesel can be found in California at $4.751 per gallon, and the cheapest can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $3.498 per gallon.

FleetPride launches online rebate program

FleetPride has introduced a new customer rebate program for e-commerce customers: eCash Rewards.

The eCash Rewards rebate program is an automatic cash rebate program that allows customers who meet the program criteria to earn cash back with every eligible online purchase, with no cap on the amount customers can add back to their bottom line.

After registering to participate, every eligible online purchase with FleetPride will automatically add to the customer's cash back balance for the year, accruing 1% cash back on eligible purchases once the program spend threshold of $10,000 is met. At the end of the calendar year, rebate checks will be issued within 60 days to registered customers who have earned a cash back reward.

An existing FleetPride.com account is required in order to register for eCash Rewards, or a new account can quickly be created for free prior to registering.