Increase in Traffic Fatalities on Us Roads
Traffic deaths on the US roads increased as nearly 43,000 people lost their lives. This was the highest number recorded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 16 years. So, what caused this massive spike in the number of deaths?
According to the NHTSA, traffic fatalities have increased by 10.5 percent since 2020. Statistics have revealed that the number of deaths in 2021 was 42,915 from 38824 in 2020. It was noted that the increase might have been caused by risky behaviors among drivers, including speeding and neglecting the use of seat belts.
The crisis on American roads continues to be a significant source of concern, forcing local and state governments to be involved. MADD National President Alex Otte explained that Americans are no longer regarding traffic safety while using the roads. More families continue to feel the impact of road accidents as they lose their loved ones and spend a lot of money on hospital bills.
States with the highest traffic deaths include Texas, Florida, and California. However, states like Maryland, Wyoming, Maine, Wisconsin, and Nebraska reported a decrease in traffic casualties. Rhode Island reported similar figures to the previous year.
Notably, the increase in travel after the pandemic may also be a factor in increasing traffic casualties. Americans’ total driven distance was 11.2 percent more than during the pandemic.
An agency’s studies revealed that, on average, 118 people lose their lives daily in road-related accidents.
The Governors Highway Safety Association associated the surge in traffic fatalities with speeding, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and distracted driving. A combination of all these factors has made all efforts made to reduce traffic accidents futile.
The NHTSA also reported a general increase in all types of traffic accidents. Crashes involving pedestrians rose by 13 percent, and those involving multiple vehicles also went up by 16 percent. Similarly, out-of-state travel crashes increased by 15 percent.
DUI and speeding fatalities each increased by five percent as deaths of motorcyclists and bicyclists went up nine percent and five percent, respectively. Finally, road accidents caused by or involving commercial vehicles like trucks had a 13 percent increase compared to 2020.
Fatality rates per 100 million vehicle miles traveled slightly fell by 0.01 in 2021. Before the pandemic, the number of deaths on American roads constantly decreased for three years.
Surprisingly, even though Americans traveled less during the pandemic, road accident deaths still increased by eight percent. Deputy NHTSA Administrator Steven Cliff emphasized the importance of urgently finding a solution to the road crisis. He promised to double their efforts as they worked towards finding a solution and urged everyone to chip in.
While attempting to lower these figures, a national strategy has been unveiled. The strategy involves reducing speed limits, initiating lane-dedicated road designs, and . Moreover, it uses traffic speed cameras which have proven to be more effective than .
The Transport department’s focus is on minimizing traffic accidents and deaths and has since opened applications for the program. Many of the strategies being implemented will take some time before they . Nevertheless, all hope is not lost as the NHTSA is awaiting approval of automatic emergency braking systems on all light vehicles and trucks.
Brooks explains how the crisis on American roads may be difficult to solve since many strategies have to be put into place. However, the task is not impossible to accomplish, and the input of every American will be helpful.
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