U.S. Traffic Fatalities on the Rise
With motor vehicle deaths increasing, we all need to do our part to keep each other safe.
According to the government’s road safety agency, the number of U.S traffic fatalities increased 7 percent in 2020 over the previous year. This is the biggest increase the country has seen in 13 years. The drastic increase in fatalities is staggering. In 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were:
- 23,395 passenger vehicle deaths, a 5% increase from 2019
- 5,015 motorcyclist deaths, a 9% increase from 2019
- 846 bicyclist deaths, a 5% increase from 2019
Pedestrian fatalities in 2020 remained consistent with the previous year at 6,205. However, traffic fatalities involving large trucks fell 2 percent, and those in the 65 or older group fell 9 percent.
The overall rise in traffic deaths becomes confusing when you consider that people have been traveling far less in recent years. Fewer people have been driving the past two years as another side effect of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, preliminary data released by the Federal Highway Administration reveals that vehicle miles traveled dropped by a staggering 430.2 billion last year when compared with 2019. This is a 13 percent decrease. Then why are traffic fatality numbers rising to levels that have not been seen in over a decade?
In 2020, there were 1.37 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled compared with 1.11 deaths a year earlier. The NHTSA places the blame on riskier driving maneuvers made by those who are still out on the roads. Dangerous driving behaviors such as failing to wear a seat belt, speeding, and driving while impaired by drugs and alcohol seem to be more prevalent since drivers have become complacent due to less-congested road conditions.
Early 2021 Traffic Collision Data
The upward trend in traffic fatalities continues as early estimates from the NHTSA indicate that 20,160 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first half of 2021 alone. This is an 18.4 percent increase over 2020 numbers and the largest number of projected fatalities in that time frame since 2006. The NHTSA director made a statement imploring everyone to do their part to stay safe on the roads.
Regardless of how many others are out there, it is important to remain vigilant when you are driving. Here are some reminders to help everyone stay safe:
- Comply with posted speed limits
- Adjust speed according to traffic and weather conditions
- Don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Avoid driving distractions such as texting, talking on the phone, or eating
With U.S. roads proving to be more dangerous than they have been in years, knowing there is dedicated legal counsel available to you and your loved ones can be a great comfort. Attorney Scott J. Corwin remains dedicated to fighting for injury victims to help them pursue the full and fair monetary compensation they deserve after a collision.