The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was the bearer of bad news regarding overall traffic fatalities across the nation in 2021. California contributed significantly to those numbers as well as many other states. Even with states implementing new laws in the past few years with respect to distracted driving and texting while behind the wheel in particular, fatality numbers increased across the board for practically all states. There were only six recording lower fatalities than in 2020. And this happened even though the number of accidents actually decreased in some states.
Bad news by the numbers
Report statistics were even more dismal when they were evaluated by category. The 10.5% increase in fatalities from motor vehicle accidents between 2020 and 2021 was actually the highest since 2005. In addition, there was a 16.5% increase in multi-vehicle crashes in urban areas and a substantial increase in the number of fatalities for individuals over 65 years of age. One number that was consistent with respect to causation is the fact that drivers logged over 325 million more miles on the road than in 2020.
A modicum of good news in the numbers
There was a sign in the statistics that measures taken by states to curb bad driving behavior may be taking effect for motorists across the nation. In light of the many more miles that were driven, there was only a 5% increase in the number of alcohol-related accidents according to the police reports. The number was also consistent at 5% for accidents attributed to excessive driving speeds. Mixed in the numbers was the negative fact that there was an increase of 10% for auto accidents involving at least one large truck.
The NHTSA reported that while accidents did decrease in six states, all 10 regions of the United States reported an increase collectively among their included states. Many of these accidents could also have been caused indirectly by bad weather and road conditions.