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Fatal Traffic Accident Increased by 8% in 2020 in the United States

March 20, 2021

DETROIT, MI - USATODAY.COM reports that the stay-at-home orders and the pandemic kept motorists off U.S. roadways for most of last year.  In a report issued Thursday, the National Safety Council stated that 42,060 were tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident in 2020.  This was an 8% increase in the number of fatal accidents over 2019 and was the first significant increase in four years.  The report also showed that the fatality rate per 100 million miles driven increased by 24% in 2020.  This was the most significant annual percentage increase since the National Safety Council began accumulating accident data in 1923.

The news article states that last year's number of accident-related deaths was the most since 2007 when almost 44,000 people were tragically killed in motor vehicle accidents.  In addition, the National Safety Council calculates that 4.8 million people were injured in accidents in 2020.  

According to Ken Kolosh, the National Safety Council's manager of statistics, American motorists drove 13% fewer miles in 2020.  However, the number of deaths increased at a startling rate.  He also stated that the pandemic seems to be distracting everyone when it comes to traffic safety.

Early statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that speeding is one of the top factors of the reckless driving behaviors that cause a substantial amount of accident fatalities.   

In Minnesota, traffic volume dropped by about 60% during the stay-home orders last spring.  However, no corresponding drop in accidents or deaths was observed.  In fact, the number of traffic accident deaths increased.

According to law enforcement, drivers used empty highways to drive at "extreme speeds."  The high number of speeders has been continuing even while traffic is beginning to return to normal levels.  The National Safety Council is asking government officials for infrastructure improvements, increased enforcement of traffic laws, reduced speed limits on dangerous roads, mandatory ignition switch locks for drunk drivers, and laws to ban cellphone use while driving.

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Category: Auto Accidents

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