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Traffic Fatalities Reached a 16-Year High in 2021, Estimates NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates an alarming increase in traffic fatalities in 2021. Their early reports estimate 42,915 deaths from motor vehicle crashes in 2021. This is a 10.5% increase in fatalities from 2020, the largest annual percentage increase since NHTSA’s founding 47 years ago.

The significant increase in traffic fatalities has prompted a response from both government and corporations. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed last fall includes two new traffic safety programs, Safe Streets and Roads for All. These programs invest up to $6 billion over five years to fund efforts to reduce crashes and fatalities. The bill requires an update to lane markings, speed, and traffic lights around the country and increases funding for the Highway Safety Improvement Program.

Many responses to the increase in traffic fatalities revolve around seatbelt safety as it is proven to reduce fatalities. Of the 22,215 vehicle occupants killed in 2019, 47% were not wearing a seat belt. Seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives and could have saved an additional 2,549 had they been wearing a seat belts.

NHTSA has launched the Click It or Ticket Campaign. It raises awareness about the importance of seat belts and provides states with funding to address increasing fatalities. The funding will be used to expand partnerships and address gaps in current road safety.

Despite widespread measures to reduce traffic fatalities, they will remain an ever-present danger. Langdon & Emison is a nationally recognized firm specializing in truck and car accident litigation. If you or a loved one were injured, or if you’re an attorney looking for a referral opportunity, give us a call at (866) 931-2115.