While the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has not yet released official figures, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published estimates based on preliminary data. Unfortunately, traffic fatalities across the nation show no signs of slowing down.
Despite constant reminders via safety pamphlets, billboards and television commercials, motorists continue to engage in reckless behavior. No matter the environmental factors, factors specific to a driver’s skill or defective vehicle parts, both crowded city streets and fast-moving highways can quickly become danger zones.
What were the findings?
While the projections were extensive, there were two key figures that should astonish drivers across the United States. First, the NHTSA estimated that 31,720 individuals died in motor vehicle crashes through the first nine months of 2021. Second, this figure represents a 12% increase from the traffic fatalities suffered in the same period in 2020. From January to September 2020, the NHTSA recorded a projection of 28,325 motor vehicle collision-related deaths. Numerous factors can lead to these devastating collisions, including:
- Distracted driving: Distractions such as phone calls, text conversations and eating all pull a driver’s attention from safely navigating the road.
- Impaired driving: Whether related to drunk driving, drugged driving or driving under the influence of strong prescription medication, motorists can find their perceptions blurred and their reaction times slowed.
- Fatigued driving: Drivers who get behind the wheel drowsy due to lack of sleep or a medication side-effect lack the perceptive acuity to recognize danger, changing traffic patterns or road safety warnings.
Including crashes involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians, a motor vehicle collision can result in devastating consequences. Pedestrians and vehicle occupants alike can suffer catastrophic injuries including broken bones, brain trauma, spinal cord damage and paralysis. As indicated by the NHTSA data, severe collisions can result in fatality.