2020 saw the most fatal car accidents that the United States has experienced since 2007. It was a stunning rise of 7.2%. That may not sound like much, but it runs out to nearly 39,000 traffic deaths during the year.
The U.S. has seen higher totals, especially in the 1970s, including some years with more than 50,000 traffic deaths. But the general trend for decades has been a decline in deaths, largely due to better medical care and better technology in modern cars. It will never hit zero, but it has been getting closer.
To say that it’s concerning to see things moving in the opposite direction is perhaps understating the problem. It’s absolutely a concern, but you also have to consider that traffic levels were drastically reduced for large parts of the year. A reduction in serious accidents would have been a logical prediction, but it never happened. Instead of a drop, we got an increase. Why did this happen?
More speeding incidents
When you break down the statistics, you’ll see that the number of speeding-related accidents went up by 11% from 2019 to 2020. Speeding does take lives, both by making accidents more common and by making the injuries suffered in those accidents more severe. Interestingly, lower traffic levels may have played a role here, as they created open roads and the potential for more speeding.
Some demographics suffered more
The toll was not equal among all demographics. Tragically, the group that suffered the most from this increase in fatalities included individuals who were “non-Hispanic Black people”, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They saw an incredible 23% increase. This could indicate that they did not benefit from the lower traffic levels in 2020 and were still obligated to drive more than people outside of this group, naturally increasing the inherent risks they encountered during the year.
Have you lost a loved one or been injured?
If you have lost a loved one in a crash someone else caused, or if you have been seriously injured yourself, you must know what legal options you have.