The number of traffic deaths in the United States jumped by 10.5% to reach a 16-year high. New data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that nearly 43,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2021.
The agency said that the number of deaths from multi-vehicle crashes and crashes on urban roads were both up by 16%. In addition, fatalities from speed-related crashes and crashes involving alcohol were both up by 5%.
Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities increased by 13% and 5%, respectively.
The number of fatalities increased as Americans returned to the roads as the coronavirus lockdowns were lifted across the country. CNBC reported that the increase in deaths is in line with an 11.2% increase in the number of miles driven between 2020 and 2021. Meanwhile, the fatality rate per mile was estimated to be 1.33 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled. That number was almost identical to the rate in 2020, which was estimated to be 1.34 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled.
“This crisis on our roads is urgent and preventable,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator. “We will redouble our safety efforts, and we need everyone – state and local governments, safety advocates, automakers, and drivers – to join us. All of our lives depend on it.”