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The NHTSA Reports That 43,000 People Tragically Died on U.S. Roads in 2021


June 07, 2022

According to a news report published on APnews.com, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that approximately 43,000 people were tragically killed in motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. last year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also stated that this was the highest number of traffic fatalities in 16 years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also stated that the 10.5% jump in annual fatalities was the sharpest percentage increase since the agency started its data collection back in 1975. 

Traffic safety experts believe that the increase in fatal traffic accidents is due to risky driving behaviors such as speeding and lack of seatbelt usage as people took more out-of-state road trips in 2021. 

According to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, America is facing a severe road safety crisis. The safety administration is pushing state and local governments, safety advocates, and drivers to work toward reversing the rising death toll.

MADD National President Alex Otte believes the U.S. has taken a deadly step backward in terms of impaired driving and traffic safety. He states that more communities are feeling the tragic magnitude of this traffic safety crisis. 

The news report states that forty-four states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, have seen increases in traffic fatalities in 2021. States such as California, Florida, and Texas, lead the rest of the states in terms of fatal accidents. States that have seen declines include Nebraska, Wyoming, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Maine. Rhode Island saw no increase or decrease in fatal accidents. Americans drove 325 billion more miles in 2021, which also contributed to the rise in traffic deaths.

The Governors Highway Safety Association blames the increase in fatal accidents on speeding, distracted driving, and driving while impaired by alcohol and drugs. Last year, 118 people, on average, passed away each day in the U.S. 

The NHTSA reported that traffic fatalities in 2021 increased in nearly all types of accidents.  

  • Out-of-state travel accidents increased by 15%.
  • Urban traffic accident deaths rose by 16%. 
  • Pedestrian fatalities increased by 13%.
  • Fatal accidents involving drivers 65 and older increased by 14%. 
  • Deaths among middle-aged drivers rose by 15%. 
  • Children under the age of 16 killed in accidents increased by 6%.
  • Big truck accidents were up by 13%.
  • Fatal motorcycle accidents grew by 9%.
  • Fatal bicycle accidents rose by 5%. 
  • Fatalities involving speeding or alcohol-related accident increased by 5%. 

Government crash statistics showed that the rate of fatal traffic accidents rose in the first quarter of 2021, but then declined throughout the rest of 2021. The NHTSA created a national strategy that will hopefully reverse the trend. In the next two years, new federal guidance and billions in grants will be used to create safer road design, add dedicated bike and bus lanes, and improve crosswalks and street lighting. The plan also pushes for speed cameras. The plan will spend up to $6 billion over the next five years.

The NHTSA also has regulations pending to mandate pedestrian detection systems and electronic automatic emergency braking on all new light motor vehicles and will require automatic emergency braking systems on heavy trucks. Automatic emergency braking slows or stops an equipped vehicle when there is an object in the vehicle's path. The NHTSA will also require auto manufacturers to install safety systems that alert rear-seat passengers when their safety belts are not buckled.

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Source:

https://apnews.com/article/health-government-and-politics-pandemics-transportation-8388d8ca4b1ad141939fe07ce00f9c7f

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