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Why was 2021 so deadly for drivers and their passengers?

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Thousands of people die each year in automobile accidents around the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that 2021 saw the highest number of traffic fatalities in 16 years with 42,915 deaths. Not surprisingly, fatal road crashes are the top cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 54.

Why the high fatality rates?

Some say that people are more careless and less safety-conscious when there are fewer cars on the road. That has certainly been the case for the past few years while many people worked remotely. Others point to the usual culprits; speeding, drunk or drugged driving and failure to use seatbelts.

The NHTSA kicked off another click-it-or-ticket campaign as a result of their findings. The organization is also working hard to get roads updated with the help of the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Improvements could create safer roads, but will it help make drivers take safety seriously?

Common factors in fatalities

The most prevalent factor in traffic deaths is distracted driving. Distracted driving involves anything that actions that decrease a driver’s perceptions and reactions. Accidents might result when someone’s eyes, hands or mind don’t focus on the road, making safety take a backseat. Texting, talking, and eating while driving are common forms of distracted driving. Even glancing sideways to look at a stopped car could cause a long enough distraction that leads to a collision.

Distracted driving is not the only reason for fatal auto accidents. Speeding factors into 29% of all traffic deaths, since operating a vehicle at excessive speeds increases the dangers of losing control of the car or making it difficult to stop to avoid an accident in time. Driving a mechanically unsafe vehicle or while tired are two more behaviors that often cause fatal accidents.

No matter the cause, if someone’s negligence led to a death, a legal claim is warranted. While a personal injury lawsuit won’t bring a loved one back, the financial outcome can help sustain surviving family members into the future.