Highway safety expert discusses US traffic fatalities hitting 20-year high

A safety crisis. That’s what experts have to say about new numbers from the federal government showing a dramatic rise in traffic fatalities.

This comes as police say two vehicles were involved in a crash Thursday morning in the Seven Corners area of Virginia that killed a pedestrian.

It’s the latest tragedy in a years-long trend.

"No matter how you look at these numbers it’s awful and tragic and heartbreaking and unacceptable," says Adam Snider from the Governors Highway Safety Association. 

According to new data from the federal government, an estimated 9,560 people died in traffic crashes during the first quarter of 2022.

RELATED: US traffic deaths continue to rise, hitting 20-year high in early 2022

That’s a two-decade-high.

"It’s more than a hundred people every single day dying on our roads. To put some context on that, that’s nearly a full metro train car dying on our roads every single day," Snider tells FOX 5.

He attributes that to bad behavior at the start of the pandemic when fewer people were on the roads.

"We had hoped that as traffic came back in 2021 and now that those behaviors would let up and the fatality numbers would go down, but we’re not seeing that," says Snider.

So, what can be done?

Snider said there should be an increase in equitable enforcement. He wants safer infrastructure to protect pedestrians and bicyclists, including newly-designed roads and campaigns to raise public awareness.

You can read more about the rise in traffic fatalities here.