Nationwide, most states saw anywhere from a 10-15% increase in traffic deaths in 2021 from 2020. Only two states (Rhode Island and Missouri) maintained the same death rates, while five states decreased their traffic fatalities by about 10% from 2020 to 2021.
Nearly 43,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the US in 2021, the highest number of deaths since 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Overall, there was more than a 10% increase in traffic deaths since about 39,000 deaths were reported in 2020. Compared to the roughly 36,000 traffic deaths in 2019, 2021 saw an 18% increase in fatal traffic accidents nationwide.
There was a 20.4% change in deadly car accidents in Massachusetts from 2020 to 2021. In 2020 there were 343 traffic deaths, but in 2021 there were 413 fatal traffic accidents.
Risky Driving Is A Leading Cause Of Deadly Car Accidents
In May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released $740 million in funding for states to implement programs to address risky driving habits.
Experts report that the increase in traffic injuries and deaths is largely caused by an increase in dangerous driving habits, including speeding, distracted driving, drug- or alcohol-impair driving, and not buckling up. Students who admitted to texting or emailing while driving were also more likely to report other risky behaviors such as not wearing a seat belt, riding with a driver who drank alcohol, and driving after drinking alcohol, according to a CDC survey.
In addition to dangerous driving, safety advocates report that roads in the US are designed more for speed than the safety of road users.
“We face a crisis on America’s roadways that we must address together,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in an NHTSA press release.
A Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a new Safe Streets and Roads for All program to improve road safety. The program will invest up to $6 billion over 5 years to fund local efforts to reduce car crashes and traffic deaths. Counties, cities, towns, and transit agencies can apply for funding to create or update comprehensive safety action plans or for funding to implement and carry out projects and strategies aimed at increasing road safety
“This crisis on our roads is urgent and preventable,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator. “We will redouble our safety efforts, and we need everyone – state and local governments, safety advocates, automakers, and drivers – to join us. All of our lives depend on it.”
Types Of Fatal Crashes That Increased From 2020 to 2021
- Deaths in multi-vehicle crashes: increased by 16%
- Deaths on urban roads: increased by 16%
- Deaths of drivers 65 years old or older: increased by 14%
- Pedestrian deaths: increased by 13%
- Deaths in crashes with at least one large truck involved: increased by 13%
- Daytime traffic deaths: increased by 11%
- Motorcyclist accident deaths: increased by 9%
- Bicyclist deaths: increased by 5%
- Deaths related to speeding: increased by 5%
- Deaths related to alcohol-impaired drivers: increased by 5%
The Human Toll Of Distracted Driving In Massachusetts
Distracted drivers kill at least 9 people each day in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Distracted driving is anything that takes the driver’s attention away from driving. About 3,000 people die in car crashes involving a distracted driver each year. In addition to 3,141 people killed by distracted driving in 2020, 400,000 people were injured by distracted driving.
The three main types of distraction are visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distractions involve taking your eyes off the road, manual distractions involve taking your hands off the wheel, and cognitive distractions involve taking your mind off of driving.
It is illegal for drivers to have a hand-held phone conversation in Massachusetts and illegal to text while driving.
If you are driving at 55mph, sending or reading a single text message is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed, according to the CDC. Despite the risks, more than half of drivers admit to using their phones while on the road.
In 2019, people ages 25-34 years old were most likely to be involved in fatal car crashes. About 1 in every 5 people killed by a distracted driver were walking, riding a bike, or doing some activity not in a vehicle. This means that roughly 20% of distracted driving deaths involve victims not in cars at the time of the accident.
Injured In A Massachusetts Car Accident? Call Or Text Spada Law Group For A Free Consultation
We’ve helped thousands of people in Massachusetts over the last 30 years get the recovery they need after a car accident. In fact, Spada Law Group has been recognized as one of the Top 20 Car Accident Attorneys in Boston for 2022. Whether you were driving, walking, biking, or on a motorcycle - Spada Law Group’s injury lawyers can help if you were injured in an accident. As personal injury lawyers, you never pay us a penny until we win your case.
We have offices in Chelsea, Peabody, and Worcester, but we proudly serve the entire state and can meet with you remotely from the comfort of your own home. Contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help you get the recovery you deserve after your injury.