Despite significant declines in traffic during the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of motor vehicle fatalities in the United States has not declined.
In 2020, 38,824 people died traffic incidents: an increase of almost 7% compared to 2019. It was also the highest number of vehicle-related fatalities since 2007.
This figure becomes even more disturbing when you consider that the total number of reported accidents actually fell by 22% over the same period. In other words, fewer car crashes were more deadly with a higher percentage of crashes resulting in at least one fatality. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly half of all fatal crashes in 2020 were the result of one of many common denominators: excessive speed, impaired driving or not using a seatbelt.
Law Firm Staver Injury data collected from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 2020 Death Analysis Reporting System to determine when a fatal car accident most often occurs each day of the week. To be included in the data, the collision had to take place in the United States (including Washington DC and Puerto Rico); must have taken place on a roadway open to the public; and had one death related to it within 30 days of the incident, as fatal car crashes don’t always result in death on impact.
Like many federal agencies, NHTSA statistical reports on various traffic and traffic safety figures are not released until 12 months after the end of a reporting period (which is usually annual or semi-annual). Therefore, on May 17, 2022 from the agency, preliminary quote of road fatalities in 2021 is not included in this data analysis. This preliminary report estimates that 42,915 people died in traffic collisions last year, an increase of more than 10% since 2020.
One factor that is not often taken into account when reviewing traffic fatalities is the time of day they occur. Many might assume that driving at night is more deadly due to reduced visibility and an increased likelihood of drunk, distracted, or impaired driving. But the data shows that this is not always the case; a greater risk factor may be the day of the week an incident occurs.