Car manufacturers have developed and implemented numerous safety enhancements in recent decades. For that reason, one would think the number of traffic fatalities should be down. That was not the case in 2021, though. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle accident deaths hit a 16-year high that year.
As a motorist, the spike in traffic fatalities is likely to cause you some consternation. Still, understanding why traffic fatalities rose in 2021 might help to put your mind at ease. It also can help you to stay safe every time you hit the road.
Drivers drove more in 2021
Arguably, the most logical explanation for the increase in traffic fatalities in 2021 is that drivers drove more that year. Indeed, the NHTSA reports that Americans collectively drove approximately 325 billion more miles in 2021 than they did the previous year. Put simply, more driving naturally leads to a greater number of accidents and traffic fatalities.
Drivers do not pay enough attention
Smartphones and related technologies have revolutionized the way many Americans live their lives. Still, it is extremely dangerous for drivers to use their smartphones when they are behind the wheel. As long as drivers do not pay enough attention to the task of driving, traffic fatalities are going to be more typical than they need to be.
Drivers do not drive responsibly
Along with distracted driving, aggressive driving, speeding and tailgating continue to be all too common on U.S. roadways. For traffic fatalities to drop meaningfully, motorists must commit to driving responsibly.
While Americans can not do much about the increase in traffic, they can be reasonable drivers. Ultimately, if an unreasonable or unsafe driver kills someone you love, you might have legal grounds to seek substantial financial compensation.