NSC analysis: Traffic is back to pre-pandemic levels, deaths continue to climb

Traffic Safety Pulse News

(NSC) The National Safety Council (NSC) released its preliminary estimates for motor vehicle fatalities in 2021, and for a second year in a row, the numbers are dark and deeply concerning. NSC data shows more than 46,000 people died on U.S. roads in 2021, a 9% increase from 2020. This comes as miles traveled rebounded 11% from 2020 lows and only lags 2019 miles traveled by 1%. With the number of vehicles on our roads increasing to pre-pandemic rates, as well as the number of preventable deaths climbing across the country, NSC estimates the death rate in 2021 exceeds the rate in 2019 by 19% at 1.43 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. 

“This devastating news serves as yet another wakeup call for this country. We are failing each other, and we must act to prioritize safety for all road users,” said Lorraine Martin, NSC president and CEO. “One life lost in a preventable crash is tragic enough and more than 46,000 in one year is unacceptable. NSC is more committed than ever to its partnership with the Department of Transportation and commends the much-needed action recently taken by the federal government to save lives.”

Between the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in November 2021 and the release of the U.S. DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy in January 2022, federal decision makers are keenly focused on mobility safety. This includes provisions within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that reflect the landmark Road to Zero report led and issued by NSC in 2018, calling on policymakers and others to follow its three pillars for roadway safety: double down on what works, advance technology and prioritize safety with a Safe System approach. Additionally, the goal of zero traffic deaths was included in the National Roadway Safety Strategy, a national commitment NSC and its partners have called for since day one of the Biden Administration. Read the full article here.