NHTSA Data Estimates Indicate Traffic Fatalities Continued to Increase at a Record High in 2021
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projects that an estimated 31,720 people died in motor vehicle crashes from January through September 2021, which is an increase of approximately 12% from the fatalities for the first nine months of 2020. This projection is the highest number of fatalities during the first nine months of any year since 2006 as well as the highest percentage increase during the first nine months in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s history.
The early estimate report also provides the first look at state-level traffic fatality estimates during the pandemic. NHTSA projects that during the first nine months of 2021, fatalities increased in 38 states, remained flat in two states, and decreased in 10 states including the District of Columbia, compared to 2020. According to the Federal Highway Administration, vehicle miles traveled in the first nine months of 2021 increased by approximately 244 billion miles, which is an 11.7% increase from the same time in 2020.
The National Roadway Safety Strategy, which was released earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Transportation, is a roadmap to address the national crisis in roadway fatalities and serious injuries. With this strategy, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg states that America has its first-ever national, comprehensive plan to significantly reduce deaths and injuries on our roads.
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