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Why do Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents Continue to Rise?

careless driver cause accidents

According to the most recent federal report of fatal crashes, the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents last year was the highest it has been in 16 years – including a 13% jump in commercial truck crash deaths.

In April the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report that estimates the number of U.S. car and truck crash deaths for 2021. NHTSA projects that nearly 43,000 people died in catastrophic motor vehicle accidents.  If the projection holds after the numbers are finalized, that would represent a 10.5% increase over 2020.

Increase in Missouri Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents

The same federal report estimates that Missouri car crashes killed almost 1,000 people in 2021, which is a 3% bump over 2020 deaths.

A subsequent NHTSA report, published in May, drills down further into the 2021 fatal motor vehicle crashes.

According to “Early Estimates of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities and Fatality Rate by Sub-Categories in 2021,” the number of deaths increased in crashes involving pedestrians, motorcyclist and commercial truck drivers.

The number of pedestrians killed in car accidents rose 13% in 2021 over 2020, and the number of motorcyclists who died in crashes was up 9%. The number of 2021 bicyclist deaths increased 5% over 2020.

NHTSA estimates that deaths in crashes involving commercial trucks increased 13% in 2021 over 2020. The Institute for Safer Trucking, a nonprofit organization focused on reducing fatal commercial truck crashes, reacted to the increase by pointing to speeding truck drivers as a possible cause. It endorsed the federal government’s recent proposal to mandate speed limiters on commercial tractor-trailers.

Fatal Crashes Involving Speeding Drivers

NHTSA’s report on fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2021 shows a 5% overall increase in the number of speeding-related crashes as compared to the previous year.

The Governors Highway Safety Association is a consortium of U.S. state highway safety officials.  It also commented on the NHTSA report, focusing on the high number of pedestrian deaths.

According to GHSA, the 7,485 pedestrians killed in car crashes last year is a 40-year high. The organization highlights three risky driving behaviors as possible causes for this historic jump:

·         Speeding drivers

·         Distracted drivers

·         Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol

GHSA reports that passenger car drivers are responsible for the majority of pedestrian deaths.  It documents that the odds for a fatal pedestrian car crash increase as the speed of the car increases – 10% at 23 mph and up to 90% when the car is traveling at 58 mph.

It also notes a dramatic percentage increase in crashes that killed young pedestrians (children younger than 15) that involved speeding drivers.  GHSA says that these speed-related fatal crashes doubled between 2018 and 2020.

Speeding drivers and inattentive drivers are dangerous, whether they are driving cars or commercial trucks.  So a continuing rise in fatal car and truck crashes may point to a growing number of careless drivers on today’s roads.

If you lost or loved one or you were seriously hurt in a crash caused by another driver, turn to car accident lawyer to advocate for your legal rights.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Blog June 9, 2022