Motor vehicles are among the biggest safety hazards for modern Americans, and policymakers have taken major steps to reduce that risk since individual motor vehicle travel became the standard. Numerous legal efforts have helped to reduce the frequency of collisions, especially fatal collisions.
Requiring crash testing by manufacturers, tracking and analyzing collision data and even mandating liability insurance from individual drivers are always the government has sought to reduce the harm caused by the proliferation of motor vehicles on the modern roads.
Those efforts for some time seemed to have gained traction, as crash rates declined and fewer people died on the roads. That trend has since reversed. Since 2020, there have been concerning increases in crash rates around the United States. The trend has continued into 2022, and crash data from early in the year shows that fatalities will likely rise again this year.
What happened in the first quarter of 2022?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted in a recent report that nationwide collision fatalities for January, March and April of 2022 were the highest that traffic fatalities had been in 20 years.
Those three months saw 9,560 reported fatalities, a 7% increase over the previous quarter. However, if you compare the first three months of 2022 with the first 3 months in 2020, you would see that there was a 21% increase in traffic fatalities. In 2020, 7,839 people died in the first three months of the year.
Overall, traffic deaths increased by 10.5% in 2021, with 42,915 people dying. That is the highest number of annual traffic fatalities reported since 2005. Pedestrian fatalities went up 13% in 2021, while fatal bicycle crashes went up 5%. That means that 2021 was the deadliest year since 1981 for pedestrians and 1980 for cyclists.
What does this data mean for you?
Even if you don’t believe you have become less safe at the wheel in recent months, other drivers may have. You need to be aware of the increased risk on the road to better protect yourself and your passengers. Beyond that, you may also want to consider reviewing your current insurance policy to see if it offers adequate protection against that increased risk, especially given the rates of inflation in recent months as well.
Drivers who employ defensive driving techniques at the wheel and who are aware of changing trends in road safety can reduce their personal risk of causing a collision. Monitoring your likely risk for a motor vehicle crash will hope you stay safer on the road.