According to a new estimate of road deaths in 2021, NHTSA says we have reached a new 16-year high. Nearly 43,000 people are estimated to have lost their lives traffic accidents last year saw a significant increase of 10.5 percent compared to 2020. According to the data, almost every subgroup of drivers and types of accidents has seen growth from year to year, but that’s not the whole story.
Last year’s report noted that the number of high-speed accidents increased by about 17 percent. This year it has grown by another 5 percent, but in many other categories in 2021 increased double-digit figures. One notable example was an accident on city roads, which increased the death toll by 16 percent over the year.
At least with fatalities one big truck increased by 13 percent, and the number of fatalities in accidents with multiple vehicles increased by 16 percent. Dr Stephen Cliff, Deputy Administrator of NHTSA, says: “We will redouble our security efforts, and we need everyone – government and local authorities, security advocates, automakers and drivers – to join us. Our whole life depends on it. “
Most deaths were in Texas, California and Florida
According to NHTSA data for 2021, Texas recorded the highest number of deaths as a result of road traffic – 4573, which is 18% more than in 2020, followed by California – 4258 deaths (+ 10.7%) and Florida – 3753 (+ 12.7%). The largest percentage change was recorded in Idaho: 286 deaths (+ 33.6%).
All of this data sounds pretty rough, but there is at least one small segment of the report that can give real hope. It is estimated that in 2021 the total mileage of cars was about 325 billion miles more than in 2020. This is an increase in total mileage of 11.2 percent. Guess what that means…
That, given the total mileage, the death rate actually dropped by 0.01 percent. In 2020, an average of 1.34 people died over 100 million miles. In 2021, that number dropped to 1.33. Yes, yes, in 2021 many more people died on the road than in 2020, but this trend is directly correlated with the distance traveled. Obviously, drivers have continued risky behavior since 2020, but drove even more.
This, of course, does not mean that improvements cannot be made. Drivers across the country would be fine eliminate risky behavior, driving while intoxicated and sleepy. They would also benefit from having to just take care of driving so that they try to be good at it, rather than just viewing it as some kind of boring affair, as many do.
Infrastructure and law enforcement can also be improved. But the jump we saw in 2021 was not just a direct result of speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol, as some outlets suggest.