Traffic Fatalities Increase 10.5% in 2021, the Highest Increase Since 2005

Fatalities in car accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2021 is the most devastating year for traffic deaths since 2005, with an astounding 10.5% increase. With 42,915 traffic fatalities on U.S. roadways, 2021 sets the record for the highest annual increase since record-keeping began back in 1975.

Alarmingly, U.S. traffic fatalities have steadily increased over the last three years, with no data yet as to the reason behind the steady increase.

2021 Saw an Increase Across the U.S.

All ten NHTSA regions showed an increase in roadway deaths, with 44 states showing an increase and only six states seeing a decline. Interestingly, no single type of accident was the source of the rise. These deaths stemmed from accidents involving:

  • Multi-vehicle crashes
  • Urban roads
  • Rural roads
  • Daytime crashes
  • Collisions involving seniors over 65
  • Pedestrian crashes
  • Truck collisions

All of the above types of accidents saw an increase of more than 10% from the previous year. Speeding and alcohol-related accidents only saw a 5% jump.

Cause of the Increase in U.S. Traffic Fatalities

The NHTSA did not cite the pandemic as the culprit as it did back in 2020 when fewer people were on the roads, but more people died. However, the agency did note the steady decline in seatbelt use as a reason for the increase over the last few years. And as more people returned to the roadways in 2021, data shows drivers traveled over 325 billion more miles than the previous year, driving 3.23 trillion miles in total, an increase of over 11%.

Measures to Improve Safety Across the Country

Due to the alarming increase in traffic-related deaths over the past few years, the Biden Administration passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the largest investment into highway programs since the construction of the Interstate Highway System.

The $350 million investment will create more than a dozen new highway programs aimed at repairing and improving our roadways and bridges and increasing mobility and accessibility through mass transit options.

Safe Streets and Road for All Program

One of the programs included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the Safe Streets and Roads for All program. This plan allows for the spending of $5 billion dollars over the next five years on reducing roadway crashes and fatalities on the local level. Measures within the SS4A include:

  • Improving safety for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians
  • The addition and improvement of safety treatments, such as rumble strips and signage
  • Installing safety enhancements, such as lighting, assistive devices, sidewalks, and crosswalks
  • Measures to decrease the incidences of drunk or impaired driving
  • Improving street design
  • Increasing safety on school and public transit routes

History of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA

Over 50 years ago, the U.S. Government set out to protect the public by improving safety on our country’s roads. The legislation set forth back then established the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an agency responsible for keeping people safe on America’s roadways.

Through increasing vehicle performance and safety standards, educating the public on road safety, and working with local and state governments on a range of measures, the NHTSA has worked to reduce economic losses, injuries, and death from motor vehicle accidents.

The NHTSA’s Safe System Approach

The agency’s key strategy, the Safe System Approach, is a data-driven, equitable, holistic method for roadway safety that integrates the public’s needs, assesses the possibility of the driver’s and other road users’ errors, and minimizes crash impact forces to levels that can be tolerated by the human body. The Safe System Approach includes five elements:

  • Safe road users
  • Safe speeds
  • Safe vehicles
  • Safe roads
  • Post-collision care

The strategy also incorporates the “5 Es of Traffic Safety:”

  • Equity
  • Engineering
  • Education
  • Enforcement
  • Emergency medical services

Keeping Our Roadways Safe

The NHTSA and its many programs have helped increase the level of safety on our roadways and save countless lives. Hopefully, with the approach and implementation of the latest legislation and with the continued help of the NHTSA, we can begin to see a decrease in the recent uptick of U.S. roadway fatalities.

Ohio Accident Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident, including truck, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian crashes, we encourage you to reach out to Ohio’s premier auto accident lawyers.

At Slater & Zurz, we have over 150 years of combined experience representing innocent victims of vehicle crashes, with continued and proven success at securing maximum damages on their behalf.

To learn more about seeking compensation in an Ohio personal injury case, reach out to our firm to arrange your FREE, no-obligation consultation. We have convenient locations in Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo to serve your legal needs. Call (888) 534-4850 or reach out to us online to get started.