Aerial view of cars driving on highways

“This crisis on our roads is urgent and preventable.”

Dr. Steven Cliff, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A new report found that 2021 had the highest number of traffic fatalities since 2005

Published on

may 18, 2022

  • Why It Matters: The report found that approximately 43,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2021, a 10.5% increase over the prior year and the highest number of traffic fatalities since 2005.
  • Fatalities increased in a variety of major categories, including amongst pedestrians and cyclists, on urban roads, and with large trucks.
  • The 10.5% increase from 2020 to 2021 is the largest year-to-year percentage rise ever recorded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is largely attributed to the pandemic and people staying closer to home throughout 2020.
  • “This grim milestone confirms we are moving backwards when it comes to safety on our roads,” said Russ Martin, senior director of policy and government relations with the Governors Highway Safety Association. He noted that an increase in dangerous driving (speeding, alcohol-impaired driving, distracted driving, etc.) reversed more than a decade’s worth of progress in reducing traffic crashes, injuries and deaths.
  • Something to Consider: The report was released the same week that the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant Program. The program, funded by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, "invests up to $6 billion over five years to fund local efforts to reduce roadway crashes and fatalities."

Newly Released Estimates Show Traffic Fatalities Reached a 16-Year High in 2021 (NHTSA)

US traffic deaths soared to 16-year record of 42,915 in 2021 (Fox News)

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