The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released its preliminary data for January-September (the first nine months of the year) for 2021.
Their projections estimate that 31,720 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes for the first nine months of 2021, which is about a 12% increase from the first nine months of 2020.
This projection is not just higher than 2020 or even 2019. It is actually the highest number of fatalities during the first nine months of any year since 2006 AND the largest percentage jump during the first nine months in the history of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
The new estimate comes a few days after the U.S. Department of Transportation released the federal government’s first-ever National Roadway Safety Strategy, which is a plan to address the crisis happening across the U.S. in traffic crashes resulting in serious injuries and fatalities
According to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, there is a roadmap laid forth to address the issue thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The National Roadway Safety Strategy is the first of its kind plan focusing on reducing the number of injuries and deaths on America’s roads.
The early estimate report also shows a sneak peek into state-level traffic fatalities during the COVID-19 pandemic. When compared with 2020, the first nine months of 2021 show an increase in 38 states, Florida being one of them with a jump in fatalities from 2,417 in 2020 to 2,839 in 2021 – a 17.5% increase. The NHTSA projections show that two states remained stagnant and a decrease happened in 10 states and the District of Columbia.
Data from the Federal Highway Administration shows that travel increased by roughly 244 billion miles in the first nine months of 2021 from 2020, which is an 11.7% increase.
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