Home » US highway deaths rise at file tempo as dangerous driving persists

US highway deaths rise at file tempo as dangerous driving persists

WASHINGTON (AP) — The variety of U.S. site visitors deaths surged within the first 9 months of 2021 to 31,720, the federal government reported Tuesday, maintaining a file tempo of elevated harmful driving through the coronavirus pandemic.

The estimated determine of individuals dying in motorized vehicle crashes from January to September 2021 was 12% larger than the identical interval in 2020. That represents the best share enhance over a nine-month interval for the reason that Transportation Division started recording deadly crash knowledge in 1975.

The tally of 31,720 deaths was the best nine-month determine since 2006.

Federal knowledge from the division’s Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration confirmed that site visitors fatalities elevated through the nine-month interval in 38 states, led by these within the West and South corresponding to Idaho, Nevada and Texas, and was flat in two states. The numbers declined in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has pledged assist and launched a brand new nationwide technique final week geared toward reversing the development, which he calls a disaster. He advised The Related Press final week that his division over the subsequent two years will present federal steerage in addition to billions in grants beneath President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure legislation to spur states and localities to decrease pace limits and embrace safer highway design corresponding to devoted bike and bus lanes, higher lighting and crosswalks. The technique additionally urges using pace cameras, which the division says may present extra equitable enforcement than police site visitors stops.

Buttigieg cited as effectively security advantages beneath the infrastructure legislation by constructing out different modes of journey to automobiles corresponding to rail and public transit, “if solely as a result of each different mode of transportation is safer.”

NHTSA additionally plans to maneuver ahead on rulemaking to require computerized emergency braking in all new passenger automobiles, and set new requirements on automotive security efficiency by emphasizing crash-avoidance options corresponding to lane-keeping help, although no agency deadlines had been set for motion.

Visitors deaths started to spike in 2019. NHTSA has blamed reckless driving habits for will increase through the pandemic, citing behavioral analysis exhibiting that dashing and touring with no seat belt have been larger. Earlier than 2019, the variety of fatalities had fallen for 3 straight years.

Visitors deaths for the primary 9 months of the yr are actually up nearly 33% over the previous decade as auto security advocates urge motion by NHTSA to implement security guidelines ordered by Congress, corresponding to rear seat belt reminders, which might be years overdue. Almost 7,800 extra folks died from January by means of September in 2021 in contrast with figures from 2011, in accordance with authorities estimates.

“Individuals make errors, however human errors don’t at all times should be deadly. In a well-designed system, security measures make it possible for human fallibility doesn’t result in human fatalities,” Buttigieg mentioned Tuesday in a press release. “That’s what we will likely be doing for America’s roads with the Nationwide Roadway Security Technique and the secure system method that it embraces.”

Jonathan Adkins, govt director of the Governors Freeway Security Affiliation, which represents state security workplaces, described the most recent figures as a “nightmare” however mentioned the Biden administration seems to be taking the fitting method on broad security fixes.

“We’ve acquired to do extra of what works. Visitors enforcement has acquired to be a part of the answer,” he mentioned. “However we’ve acquired to take a look at how we construct roads. We’ve acquired to take a look at the entire system.”


AP Auto Author Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this report.