The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has just released its estimate of motor vehicle traffic fatalities for the first nine months of 2021. It was projected that approximately 31,720 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes from the beginning of 2021, through September of 2021. This was an increase of approximately 12% from the 28,325 deaths which had been projected for the first nine months of 2020.
Strikingly, the 2021 projection is the highest number of fatalities during the first nine months of any year since 2006, and it is the highest percentage increase in the first nine months in the history of NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. At the state level, compared to 2020, NHTSA projects that during the first nine months of 2021, fatalities increased in 38 states, remained flat in 2, and decreased in 10.
The projections are quite concerning, and in response to these alarming statistics, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has stated that “we cannot and must not accept these deaths as part of everyday life.” Accordingly, the U.S. DOT has put in place a National Roadway Safety Strategy to address the rise in traffic fatalities. The key actions of that strategy are as follows:
- By working directly with states and local governments to construct, implement, and maintain safer roadways through initiatives including updating the Uniform Traffic Control Devices manual; provide technical assistance via the Complete Streets Initiative for all types of communities, and setting speed limits.
- Utilizing technology to improve motor vehicle safety on roadways, including the implementation of new rules regarding automatic emergency braking and pedestrian automatic emergency braking, and updates to the Program for New Car Assessment.
- Road safety investments through additional funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including an additional $6 billion Safe Streets and Roads for All program, hundreds of millions for behavioral research and intervention programs, and $4 billion in funding for the Highway Safety Improvement Program.
According to Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator, “we have to change a culture that accepts as inevitable the loss of tens of thousands of people in traffic crashes.” Dr. Cliff further stated that “this will require a transformational and collaborative approach to safety on our nation’s roads.”
The lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., are concerned for the safety of the motoring public as they travel on the roads, streets, and highways throughout the area, including in Berks County, Schuylkill County, Lebanon County, Montgomery County, and Lancaster County. The personal injury lawyers serve car, motorcycle, and truck accident victims and their loved ones in claims and cases involving serious injury and death caused by the negligence of others. The firm also handles medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, and work comp cases.
From the desk of Adam K. Levin, Esquire