According to the DOT, U.S. road deaths hit a 16-year high in 2021

Investigators are examining the scene of an accident between an SUV and a trailer truck full of gravel near Holtville, California on March 2, 2021.

Patrick T Fallon | AFP | Getty Images

More people died on U.S. roads last year than in any year since 2005, according to new data released Tuesday by federal vehicle safety officials.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a division of the Department of Transportation, estimates that 42,915 people died in traffic accidents in 2021, a 10.5% increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020. Fatalities include pedestrians, cyclists and others who may have died during a crash.

The death toll in multi-vehicle accidents and on urban roads rose 16%, the largest year-over-year increase for incident-specific data, according to the agency. Other notable increases included: deaths among those aged 65 and over by 14%; pedestrian deaths up 13%; and fatalities in accidents involving at least one large truck by 13%.

In a statement Tuesday, US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg called the situation “a crisis on America’s roads that we must address together.”

Buttigieg said the Biden administration is taking “decisive steps to reverse this devastating trend,” citing the previously announced National Roadway Safety Strategy and Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The NHTSA estimates that 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have increased traffic deaths in 2021.

The higher number of fatalities corresponded to an increase in miles driven on US roads compared to 2020. Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration shows vehicle miles driven increased by about 325 billion miles in 2021 compared to 2020 or about 11.2%.

Despite the additional kilometers driven, the death rate based on kilometers driven remained roughly the same as of 2020. Estimates put the fatality rate for 2021 at 1.33 deaths per 100 million vehicle kilometers driven, compared to 1.34 deaths in 2020.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/17/us-traffic-deaths-hit-16-year-high-in-2021-dot-says.html According to the DOT, U.S. road deaths hit a 16-year high in 2021

Jane Marczewski

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