New Traffic Statistics Show Highest Number of Traffic Deaths Since 2007

The United States Department of Transportation’s (US DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released its annual traffic crash data from 2020 along with some upsetting news. In 2020 alone, there were more than 38,824 fatalities in motor vehicle accidents throughout the U.S., marking the highest number of traffic deaths since 2007.

Statistics for 2020 Highway Deaths in the United States

The NHTSA highlighted a number of concerning statistics in its annual traffic crash data from 2020, including:

  • Despite a 22-percent decrease in the number of police-reported traffic accidents and a 17-percent decrease in the number of crash injuries between 2019 and 2020, the rate of fatal crashes increased by 6.8 percent during that same time period.
  • The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was 1.34 in 2020, a staggering 21 percent increase over the fatality rate in 2019 and the highest recorded fatality rate since 2007.
  • In 45 percent of roadway fatalities in 2020, drivers were engaged in one or more of the following types of risky driving behaviors:
    • Speeding
    • Not wearing a seatbelt
    • Driving under the influence

Categories of Crashes

The NHTSA also underscored some alarming trends in the fatality data for certain key categories between 2019 and 2020, including:

  • Fatalities caused by speed-related crashes increased by 17 percent.
  • Fatalities from crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers increased 14 percent.
  • Fatalities among vehicle occupants who were not wearing seatbelts or other safety restraints also increased by 14 percent.
  • Motorcyclist fatalities from traffic accidents increased 11 percent and reached the highest rate since data collection first began in 1975.
  • Cyclist fatalities from traffic accidents increased by 9.2 percent and reached the highest rate since data collection first began in 1987.
  • Passenger vehicle occupant fatalities increased by 9 percent.
  • Fatalities from crashes that occurred in urban areas increased by 8.5 percent.
  • Pedestrian fatalities from traffic accidents increased by 3.9 percent and reached the highest rate since data collection first began in 1989.
  • Fatalities from hit-and-run traffic accidents increased by 26 percent.

How We Can Solve This Problem 

In January of 2022, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced a comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS) in response to the traffic fatality crisis. The NRSS is designed to act as a roadmap for the future, laying out a safe system approach with multiple safety features, including “safer roads, safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds, and better post-crash care.” 

The strategy is accompanied by an “unprecedented” level of safety funding from the recent Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Mr. Buttigieg expressed hope that these efforts and resources will affect changes that allow Americans to leave their homes knowing they will reach their destinations safely.

Contact a Texas Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you have been injured in a Texas traffic accident, you may be entitled to compensation if someone else’s negligence was to blame. At the Law Offices of Michael Gopin, PLLC, our dedicated El Paso attorneys can help you seek the compensation you are owed and hold the negligent party accountable for the harm you’ve suffered. Contact us today to learn more in a free initial consultation.