U.S. traffic fatalities rose in 2020, 2021

The past two years were like no others, especially on the roadways. In 2021 many people returned to their daily commutes after spending months in 2020 working from home. Sadly, motor vehicle accidents continue to occur, some of which are deadly. 2020 was a particularly bad year for traffic fatalities.

The statistics

While traffic deaths happen every year, 2020 saw 38,680 traffic fatalities across the United States. This was the greatest number since 2007. This number counters the years of ongoing safety improvements on U.S. roads. For example, in 1970 there were 55,000 traffic deaths. By 2019, this number fell to 36,096. The number of traffic fatalities rose 7.2% in 2020, and the total miles driven rose by 13%. The number of traffic fatalities grew 18% in the first six months of 2021, based on preliminary numbers. As of right now mileage estimates for 2021 are not available.

Why the uptick in traffic fatalities?

The uptick in traffic fatalities may be due to driver behavior. It appears motorists were more apt to drive recklessly, for example, by speeding, drunk driving and not wearing their seat belts. Some experts believe this recklessness is caused in part when drivers feel isolated, lonely or depressed. It could also be a knee-jerk reaction to restrictions placed on other aspects of our lives. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that across the United States there seems to be an overall decrease in the consideration some drivers show for other drivers.

You may have legal options following a traffic fatality

Ultimately, traffic deaths will continue to happen. If you lose a loved one in a motor vehicle accident, you will want to learn more about your legal rights and options. It may be possible in some cases to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit following a traffic fatality. While a wrongful death lawsuit cannot bring back a loved one lost, it can be a way to obtain some much-needed financial compensation during a difficult time.