The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that an estimated 28,190 people died in motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roads in the first nine months of 2020.

This represents an increase of about 4.6 percent as compared to 26,941 fatalities reported to have occurred in the first nine months of 2019.

Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the first nine months of 2020 decreased by about 355.5 billion miles, or about a 14.5 percent decrease.

Commenting on the data, the National Safety Council stated: “Vehicle miles traveled have dropped precipitously since the pandemic, but the number of deaths has not followed.

“We should be able to show a significant safety benefit from having less traffic. Instead, in the midst of the worst health crisis in more than a century, we are experiencing even deadlier roadways – and motor vehicle crashes have been a persistent public health threat.”