Transportation

Traffic fatalities at 16-year high, estimates show

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced Tuesday that traffic fatalities hit a 16-year high in 2021, based on early estimates.

In 2021, an estimated 42,915 people died in car crashes, up 10.5 percent over 2020 and the highest level since 2005.

The biggest increases in deaths between 2020 and 2021 came from multivehicle crashes, crashes on urban roads and accidents involving drivers over 65 years old.

The agency says 44 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico are expected to have higher crash fatalities in 2021 than 2020.

“We face a crisis on America’s roadways that we must address together,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “With our National Roadway Safety Strategy and the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are taking critical steps to help reverse this devastating trend and save lives on our roadways.” 

NHTSA pointed to programs implemented in the bipartisan infrastructure act that will aim to reduce roadway crashes. 

One of the programs includes the Safe Streets and Roads for All program that will give $6 billion over the next five years to local groups working to reduce roadway crashes. 

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law now being implemented also advances Complete Streets policies and standards; requires updates to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which defines speeds, lane markings, traffic lights and more on most roads in the country; and sharply increases funding for the Highway Safety Improvement Program, which helps states adopt data-driven approaches to making roads safer,” the agency highlights. 

Tags car fatalities NHTSA Pete Buttigieg Pete Buttigieg Traffic fatalities

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