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Preliminary 2021 Traffic Collision Data Reports Deadliest Year on U.S. Roads Since 2005September 15, 2022
Last month, our Charlotte car accident attorneys at Dewey, Ramsay & Hunt, P.A., discussed the myriad of driving dangers that impact our traffic patterns as days get shorter throughout North Carolina. And, like most states, have paid special attention to how speeding, intoxicated, and distracted driving accidents increase over both Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends.
Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its early estimate of traffic fatalities for 2021 that backed up many of our residents’ beliefs that fatal traffic collisions are happening on a wider scale. Last year, the NHTSA estimated 1,627 traffic fatalities occurred on our North Carolina roadways. That number represents a 5.8% increase from the previous year.
What we did not anticipate was news that the country, as a whole, is experiencing similar increases. In their Preliminary 2021 Traffic Collision Data Reports, the NHTSA projects that an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year, a 10.5% increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020.
The projection is the highest number of traffic fatalities in the U.S. since 2005, and the largest annual percentage increase in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s history.
U.S. Traffic Fatalities Sharply Increased in Multiple Categories
While the sweeping data that points to higher alcohol-related crashes over holiday weekends may seem obvious to most, there are finer traffic data points that require extensive research and reporting to ensure the numbers are reported properly.
The latest NHTSA report included data for the following categories that showed relatively large increases in traffic fatalities across the U.S. from the previous year:
- Bicyclist fatalities up 5%
- Daytime fatalities up 11%
- Fatalities among drivers 65 and older up 14%
- Fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck up 13%
- Fatalities in multi-vehicle crashes up 16%
- Fatalities in police-reported, alcohol-involvement crashes up 5%
- Fatalities in speeding-related crashes up 5%
- Fatalities on urban roads up 16%
- Motorcyclist fatalities up 9%
- Pedestrian fatalities up 13%
Behind each of these numbers is a life tragically lost, and a family left behind, as most of these fatal crashes were preventable. It is up to all of us to hold ourselves and each other accountable for the safety of our roads by staying focused on the task of driving each time we get behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, no matter how prepared and alert we are, negligence can still impact our lives. At Dewey, Ramsay & Hunt, our Charlotte personal injury attorneys sincerely hope you and your family never need us. If you do, we will be ready to fight for the justice you deserve.
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