Catastrophic and fatal motor vehicle collisions are rising rapidly in the United States. Virtually every state saw an increase in serious accidents last year. On May 17th, 2022, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officially released its preliminary data for 2021. The federal agency estimates that 42,915 people were killed in highway collisions—the highest number in nearly two decades. In this article, our Atlanta car accident lawyer provides an overview of the latest data on the rise in motor vehicle collisions happening in Georgia and throughout the United States.
Public Safety Crisis: A 10.5 Percent Increase in Car Accident Deaths in 2021
The initial highway safety report for 2021 from NHTSA estimates that there was a 10.5 percent increase in the number of motor vehicle accident fatalities when compared to 2020. While part of that increase is likely a statistical anomaly due to reduced driving during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, the unfortunate reality is that catastrophic motor vehicle accidents are rising rapidly in the United States. More people died in highway collisions in 2021 than in any year since 2005.
Digging Deeper into the Data: The Factors Behind the Surge in Traffic Fatalities
In its preliminary report, NHTSA notes that the rise in catastrophic and deadly car accidents is likely caused primarily by an increase in some of the riskiest driving behaviors. The report cites an increase in the rate of 1) Speeding, 2) Distracted driving, and 3) Intoxicated driving. Notably, all regions of the country are being affected by this public safety crisis. The early data shows that traffic deaths increased in 44 of the 50 states, including Georgia. No state saw major declines. The 6 states that did not see a spike were essentially flat. Here are some other key findings from the preliminary highway safety report from NHTSA:
- Multi-Vehicle Collisions are Up Big: There was a 16 percent rise nationwide in multi-vehicle crashes in 2021. The increase in single-vehicle accidents was not quite as sharp.
- Urban Areas are Most Impacted: The biggest spike in car accidents happened in urban areas. That being said, both suburban and rural areas also saw a significant increase in collisions.
- Pedestrian Fatalities are Rising Faster than Other Deadly Accidents: While there was a 10.5 percent increase in all traffic fatalities, there was an even sharper 13 percent spike in the number of pedestrian accident deaths reported last year.
Contact Our Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyer for a Free Review of Your Case
At Wetherington Law, our Atlanta car accident attorneys have the professional experience that you can count on. If you or someone close to you was injured in a motor vehicle collision, we are here to protect your rights. Call us now or connect with us online to set up a free initial consultation. From our Atlanta office, we handle motor vehicle accident injury claims throughout northern Georgia.