The roadways in the United States continue to put drivers at risk of injury and death. The high rate of deaths that began in 2020 continues to stay at an increased level in the early months of 2021.
This comes even as drivers log in fewer miles than in past years.
Dangerous driving habits
An article in Forbes relates that an estimated 8,370 people died in traffic accidents in the U.S. in the first three months of 2021. This represents a 10.5% increase from fatalities projected from the same period in 2020. Officials suggest that driving patterns and behaviors changed in significant ways from 2019.
Risky behaviors such as speeding, failure to wear seat belts and the use of drugs or alcohol decreased the safety of U.S. roads. The acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called on traffic professionals to improve driving conditions in the country. The official asked stakeholders such as road designers, engineers and drivers to share responsibility for road safety.
The spike in traffic deaths so far in 2021 amounts to the highest rate since 2007. This comes at a time when proven vehicle safety technology exists to cut down on traffic deaths.
The NHTSA puts out a document called Countermeasures That Work outlining strategies to improve road safety. This major effort highlights 10 areas of driving that need attention, including alcohol and drug-impaired driving, seat belts and child restraints, distracted driving, motorcycle safety and young drivers.
The exhaustive report details solutions both new and old, and looks at which measures hold the most potential to prevent traffic deaths and injuries. The report aims to help states implement the most effective and cost-efficient measures to reduce motor vehicle accidents.