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Traffic Fatalities Spiked Throughout the US in 2021

Traffic Deaths Increase Across the US During 2021

Recent reports from transportation agencies show that there was a drastic increase in traffic deaths for most states during 2021, including Pennsylvania. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 42,915 people died in car accidents during 2021, up 10.5% from 2020. Federal data shows that the number of traffic deaths in 2021 was the highest since 2005, and the NHTSA found this to be the largest annual increase on record.

Traffic Deaths up Across the U.S.

The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation described the recent increase as a crisis on America’s roadways. The federal response plan includes a bipartisan infrastructure bill and an aggressive Click it or Ticket campaign. Much like 2020, all 10 NHTSA regions experienced an increase in traffic deaths during 2021. The number of traffic deaths reported in 2021 increased in 44 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

Deadly Traffic Data Trends From 2021

According to the Federal Highway Administration, the vehicle miles traveled during 2021 increased by 11.2%. Some of the most notable trends included fatalities from multi-vehicle crashes and fatalities on urban roads, each up by 16%. Fatalities among drivers 65 or older increased by 14%. Pedestrian fatalities and fatalities involving at least one truck were each up 13 %. Daytime fatalities increased by 11%, while motorcycle fatalities were up by 9%. Fatalities from speed-related crashes, bicycle fatalities, and fatalities from cranes involving alcohol increased by 5% in 2021. Overall, the fatality rate continued to rise through the first quarter of 2021, before steadily declining for the remainder of the year.

More Car Crashes Than Ever in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, fatalities increased by 9.3%, totaling 1,234 traffic deaths for the year. In the NHTSA four-state region, including Pennsylvania, traffic deaths increased by 12%. The federal numbers are in line with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s projection of a 9% increase in statewide traffic deaths during 2021. Pennsylvania’s 2022 Strategic Highway Safety Plan has been updated to progress “Toward Zero Deaths” through infrastructure and behavior initiatives to lower the frequency and severity of crashes.

PennDOT and the SHSP

Infrastructure in Pennsylvania will now include roadways designed to improve safety and reduce the risk of injury to all road users. The state will focus more on data-driven methods that are cost-effective and remove inequities in the transportation network. The three primary emphasis areas the SHSP will address to reduce traffic fatalities are pedestrian safety, impaired driving, and lane departure crashes. In 2021, lane departure crashes accounted for nearly half of the highway fatalities in the state, totaling 596 deaths, up from 551 the year before. Strategies to reduce these types of crashes focus on better ways to keep cars within the proper lanes on roadways like a cable media barrier, high-friction surface treatments, and shoulder or centerline rumble strips. Impaired driving, distracted driving, and speeding are the main causes of lane departure crashes. Impaired driving fatalities declined by 5% but still accounted for 35% of Pennsylvania’s traffic deaths in 2021. Pedestrian fatalities increased by over 20%, and they accounted for 15% of the traffic deaths in the state during 2021. While the DOT recognizes there are improvements to make on local infrastructure and transportation, many of the core issues concern behavioral safety. Federal data shows that behavior is a factor in up to 90% of all crashes.

Legal Assistance for a Major Traffic Accident

If you have been involved in a serious motor vehicle accident or lost a loved one in a car crash, an Allentown personal injury lawyer may be able to help. We will walk you through each step of the legal system and help make sure that your rights are protected. Car accident victims in need of an Allentown personal injury lawyer can reach out to the law firm of Metzger & Kleiner. We will strive to answer any of your questions and help you navigate the details of your case. We can be contacted by phone at (215) 567-6616.

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