Deaths associated with car accidents rose alarmingly in the second half of 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA). The agency states it will prepare a national security strategy to reduce these numbers.
Accidents and the pandemic
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 quarantine, various government agencies in the United States had warned of the increase in accidents on the roads, as well as their severity. Among the causes, it was concluded that the drastic decrease in traffic during the days of greatest confinement, caused an increase in maximum speeds and “reckless” driving, which led to a worrying increase in deaths.
Of course, vaccination helped more and more people to resume their activities outside the home over the months, whether it was for work, study, or even leisure. This happened especially at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 when the corresponding spikes in infections caused by the Delta and Omicron variants were not prevalent.
NHTSA: Increase in deaths in 2021
So, the second half of 2021 should have seen a significant reduction in fatal accidents as traffic became crowded again, right? Well, it turns out not. According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), in their report estimating deaths from motor vehicle traffic accidents for the second half of 2021 (July-December), deaths from these type of accidents not only increased; they did it alarmingly.
Faced with the crisis, it will be necessary to implement a new security strategy
According to NHTSA, the total of deaths related to motor vehicles in the second half of 2021 was 20,160, a figure not only higher by 18.4% compared to the same period in 2020, but it is the highest number of deaths for a similar period ever recorded in the history of these reports. These reports, date back to 2006. And yes, we are comparing against the months where the quarantine was more severe, where the worrying increase in deaths had already been noted. NHTSA officials did not hesitate to call the 2021 figures a crisis.
“This is a crisis. More than 20,000 people died on America’s roads in the last six months of 2021, leaving countless loved ones behind. We cannot and should not accept these deaths simply as part of everyday life in America,” said US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “Today we announced that we will produce the Department’s first National Highway Safety Strategy to identify action steps for all who work to save lives on the road. No one will achieve this alone. It will take all levels of government, industries, advocates, engineers, and communities across the country working together for the day when family members no longer have to say goodbye to their loved ones due to a traffic accident. ”
New security strategy
The strategy will include all three levels of government while seeking to include the private sector and the community. It is expected to be released as early as late January 2022 and will have a special focus on 15 states and Puerto Rico, which account for more than half of the deaths. According to NHTSA, in the period between October 2020 and December 2021, the main causes of these deaths were speeding and not wearing seat belts. Vehicle miles traveled also increased, not surprisingly (again, because of the end of most quarantines), although so did the death rate.
“The report is sobering. It is also a reminder of what hundreds of millions of people can do every day, right now, to combat this: slow down, wear seat belts, drive sober, and avoid distractions behind the wheel,” said the deputy administrator of the NHTSA, Dr. Steven Cliff. “We must all work together to stop aggressive and dangerous driving and help prevent fatal accidents. ”
NHTSA National Highway Safety Strategy
NHTSA’s National Highway Safety Strategy will focus on the highest risk locations detected in 2021 as intersections, while new road designs will be implemented, with improved containment and signaling systems, as well as dedicated bike lanes and speed limits.
Bicycle accidents have been a source of concern. The first car accident involving a bicycle recorded in the United States was in 1986. In 2008, in Florida, where this means of transport is quite popular, 118 deaths and 4,380 injuries were registered last year, worrisome, especially because helmet use is not mandatory for people aged 21 and over. The good thing is the state requires an insurance policy for at least $ 10,000 in medical benefits.
Regarding motorcycles, the NHTSA estimates that helmet use saved the lives of more than 1,829 motorcyclists in 2021. Around 823 additional lives could have been saved if more motorcyclists involved in accidents had used them last year.t . Thus, whether it is mandatory or, when traveling in a motorcycle, a helmet must be worn, as well as shiny clothing or reflective material that helps riders be spotted more easily.
WE ARE WORKING FOR OUR CUSTOMERS DURING THIS CRISIS
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