Does it seem like we are reading about more car crash deaths these days? Yes, unfortunately, deaths in motor vehicle collisions have been rising around the country. Strangely, this seems to be because drivers are acting more recklessly than usual and more people are skipping their seat belts.
The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) did a study and found that there have been 20,160 deaths from crash collisions in the first half of 2021, the highest increase since 2006. The original projection for the first half of 2021 was 17,020 deaths, which is an 18.4 percent increase in deaths than was initially predicted. That increase is the biggest 6-month increase of traffic accident-related deaths to occur since NHTSA started collecting data in 1975.
What about in Vermont?
When NHTSA did their study, they broke down the calculations by region to compare and contrast drivers and get more specific data about each region. They broke the US into 10 different regions to look at the numbers. Vermont is in Region 1 along with Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
Region 1 had the lowest increase in traffic deaths, only 11% throughout all five states. Region 10, the Northwest corner of the United States, had the highest increase in traffic deaths with a staggering 26% increase in the first half of 2021.
Why are deaths increasing?
The data shows that traffic collisions have increased dramatically due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Between 2020 and 2021, about 173.1 billion more miles were driven as the US opened up. Researchers believe that due to the pandemic, people have been engaging in more reckless behavior behind the wheel.
This behavior includes speeding, not wearing a seat belt, and operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Traffic data collection illustrated that on average, people were increasing their speed while driving throughout the year of the pandemic and that many more crash injuries involved passengers not wearing seat belts.
What can you do?
Be careful! Be aware while driving, follow speed limit signs, wear a seatbelt, don’t drive under the influence, do all the things you have learned about how to be a safe driver.
If you can, be aware of other drivers around you and try to talk with them if they are participating in unsafe driving behaviors that put you and others at risk. If you have been in a car accident and are seeking legal help, contact Larson and Gallivan Law PLC, we’re here to help!