Even though there were fewer people on the roads in 2020 due to COVID-19 lockdowns (total vehicle mileage decreased by 11%), the number of fatal accidents increased by almost 7% compared to 2019. There were 35,766 road traffic accidents in the United States, resulting in 38,824 deaths.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 45% of fatal crashes involved drivers who were speeding, under the influence of alcohol or not wearing seat belts. In almost all categories, mortality increased from year to year. For example, cyclist and pedestrian deaths have reached their highest levels since the late 1980s. 2020 saw the highest number of fatal motorcycle crashes since tracking began 45 years ago.
To combat the worsening crisis, the US Department of Transportation announced its National Highway Traffic Safety Strategy in January 2022. The plan relies heavily on technological changes, such as requiring all new passenger vehicles to include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, technologies that can detect violations, and automated safety programs such as speed cameras to improve road safety. movement and accounting for human error.
Infrastructure will also be in the spotlight. Under President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, billions of dollars in grants will be made available to states and municipalities to support physical improvements such as lower speed limits, safer road designs with dedicated bike and bus lanes, better lighting, and safer pedestrian crossings.
To better understand this crisis on America’s highways and the characteristics of road traffic fatalities, Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, PC studied data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2020 Fatality Analysis Reporting System. FARS data for 2020 was released on March 2, 2022.
To be included in this data, an accident must occur in the United States (including Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico), on a roadway open to the public, and must be fatal within 30 days of the accident. Faults can be assigned to several groups at the same time. For example, an accident involving a driver who had alcohol in his blood while the vehicle was also speeding would count in both categories.