This nation’s roads are a dangerous place to be. The newest reports from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that people are traveling less, but fatal accidents are more common than ever.
What’s behind the increase in road fatalities? Experts think that driving patterns and driver behaviors shifted dramatically in 2020 and that those new patterns have continued forward — with disastrous results.
What the statistics say about highway dangers
Although the statistics vary greatly by region, there has been an overall 10.5% estimated increase in deadly wrecks during the first quarter of 2021 when compared to the same period in 2020. (In the region that includes Tennessee, the statistics are even more dismal: There’s been an estimated 18% increase in fatal crashes.)
In human terms, that means an estimated 8,730 people died in traffic wrecks in just the first few months of the year, even though the actual vehicle miles traveled show an estimated decrease of 2.1% over the previous year (which amounts to almost 15 billion fewer miles).
Researchers and transportation authorities alike have been scrambling to understand the sudden (and counterintuitive) shift in numbers. From what they’ve been able to glean, it seems that risky driving behaviors spiked early in 2020 and hasn’t abated. These behaviors include:
- Traveling at excessive (even extreme) speeds
- Not using seatbelts
- Getting behind the wheel while drunk or drugged
Ultimately, this kind of news is disturbing because individual drivers can only do so much to keep themselves safe out there on the roads since a lot of the problems are being caused by a reckless few.
If you’re injured in a collision or a loved one is killed, find out more about your right to compensation for your losses.