U.S. Traffic Deaths Rise to Highest Level Since 2007

THURSDAY, March 3, 2022 (HealthDay News) — While Americans drove fewer cars in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, about 39,000 people died on U.S. roads in 2020, the highest death toll since 2007. This is reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Between 2019 and 2020, the number of fatal accidents increased by almost 7%, according to the annual report of the safety service.

  • “The tragic loss of life represented by these numbers confirms that a deadly crisis has arrived on our country’s roads,” said Stephen Cliff, NHTSA Deputy Administrator.
  • “While the total number of road traffic accidents and the number of injuries decreased in 2020, the number of fatal accidents and fatalities has increased,” Cliff said in a press release from the agency. “We cannot allow this to become the status quo.”
  • In 2020, the death rate per 100 million miles driven rose to 1.34, up 21% from 2019.
  • The data showed that while many Americans were in lockdown, road deaths increased, although total vehicle mileage fell by 11% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Risk-taking behavior contributed to many of these tragedies: in 45% of fatal accidents, car drivers were speeding, under the influence of alcohol, or not wearing seat belts.

Other important takeaways from the 2019-2020 data:


    • Drunk driving deaths jumped 14%.


    • The death rate of people in cars increased by 9%, and the death rate of people not wearing seatbelts in cars increased by 14%.


    • Motorcyclist deaths rose by 11%, reaching the highest level since data was first collected in 1975.


    • Cyclist deaths increased by more than 9%, reaching the highest rate since 1987.


    • Urban deaths rose nearly 9%, and pedestrian deaths approached 4%, the highest since 1989.


    • Mortality in car accidents jumped by 26%.


    • Mortality in accidents involving heavy vehicles decreased by 1.3%.


    • The number of accidents registered by the police decreased by 22%.


    • The number of wounded was reduced by 17%.


“This sudden spike in lives lost in preventable crashes is due to a combination of factors,” said Pam Shadel Fisher, senior director of external relations for the Governors Highway Traffic Safety Association. “The safety of all road users should be a top priority in road design. We continue to face an ongoing security crisis that threatens people on foot, on a bike, on a scooter, and on a bike. Risk,” Shadel Fischer said in a statement from the association.


“The U.S. Department of Transportation has established a national framework for action in its new National Road Safety Strategy based on the Safe System approach. However, more federal, state, and local action is clearly needed,” Shadel Fisher said.

The DOT strategy calls for safer roads, safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds, and better care after an accident.

“The rising death toll on our roads is a national crisis; we cannot and should not accept these deaths as inevitable,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

“People need to get out of their homes and know they will get to their destination safely,” Buttigieg added in an NHTSA press release.

More information 

NHTSA has tips for safe driving.SOURCES: U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration press release, March 2, 2022; Governors Highway Traffic Safety Association, press release, March 2, 2022

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2022 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *