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Car Crashes Have Become More Deadly, Latest NHTSA Data Show

The NHTSA has finally released the report regarding 2020 traffic crash data showing the number of fatalities in the first pandemic year reached almost 40,000, the highest since 2007. This came as the number of car crashes decreased, following a reduction in miles traveled due to the stay-at-home order.
Car crashes have become more deadly, latest NHTSA data show 8 photos
Car crashes have become more deadly, latest NHTSA data showCar crashes have become more deadly, latest NHTSA data showCar crashes have become more deadly, latest NHTSA data showCar crashes have become more deadly, latest NHTSA data showCar crashes have become more deadly, latest NHTSA data showCar crashes have become more deadly, latest NHTSA data showCar crashes have become more deadly, latest NHTSA data show
The latest NHTSA crash data shows the number of crashes decreased by 22% in 2020 compared to 2019. While this seems like good news, the key take here is that the crashes have become more deadly. Indeed, the number of people injured in the accidents declined by 17%, but the number of fatalities actually increased by 7.2% to 38,824, the highest number since 2007. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled also increased to 1.34, a 21% spike compared to 2019.

In almost half the crashes, the drivers of passenger vehicles were either speeding, DUI, or not wearing a seatbelt. This behavior explains why the severity of the crashes increased. This trend was consistent across the board, with the biggest increase (+26%) being for fatalities in hit-and-run crashes.

Next in line was the number of fatalities in speeding-related crashes (+17%), alcohol-impaired driving and unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant (+14% each), and motorcyclist fatalities (+11%, the highest number since first data collection in 1975).

Other categories have also seen increases, ranging from 9% (passenger cars occupants) to 3.9% (pedestrian fatalities). The only category that saw a modest decline was fatalities in large-truck crashes, down 1.3% compared to 2019.

The tragic loss of life of people represented by these numbers confirms that we have a deadly crisis on our nation's roads. While overall traffic crashes and people injured were down in 2020, fatal crashes and fatalities increased. We cannot allow this to become the status quo,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released the federal government’s comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy in January. This comprises multiple layers of protection with safer roads, safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds, and better post-crash care.

 
 
 
 
 

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