Deaths related to car, truck and motorcycle accidents increased by 10.5% in 2021, the highest number of deaths on U.S. roadways in a single year since 2005. Unfortunately, the bad news does not end there. Pedestrian deaths increased by 13% with 7,342 pedestrians killed in a single year. Bicyclist deaths increased by 5% with 985 bicyclists losing their lives last year. Now for the better news, the federal government has taken two significant steps to try to reduce U.S. roadway deaths, and there are steps you can take too.
Recently, the United States Senate confirmed a new head for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is basically the government watch dog for traffic accidents, vehicle recalls, safety testing and more. The NHTSA has not had an administrator since 2017, and the new administrator is committed to reducing traffic deaths in our country.
Second, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has announced that $5 billion dollars will be sent to American cities to help implement the new Safe Streets & Roads for All program. The program wants to assist cities in slowing down speeders, installing more dedicated bike paths and wider sidewalks and encouraging the use of public transit.
While the federal government can help, responsibility for reducing traffic deaths lies with us – the driving public. Below are 6 ways you can help reduce traffic deaths and protect you and your family.
- Slow down. Speeding on U.S. roadways sky-rocketed during the pandemic. With fewer cars on the road and less stringent enforcement, many drivers became accustomed to driving way too fast, as much as 75% faster according to some experts, and have not changed their driving habits despite more normal congestion returning to our roads.
- Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drivers who are under the influence account for more than 28% of traffic-related deaths.
- If you have teenage drivers with restricted licenses, enforce the restrictions especially those related to the number of passengers in the car. According to the NHTSA, teens are 2 ½ times more likely to have an accident with another teen passenger in the car.
- Make sure to keep your car in good working condition. Bald tires, worn-out brakes, burnt-out lights and other equipment problems can easily lead to accidents.
- Studies suggest Americans are getting angrier, which is not good by itself. But being angry on the road can lead to reckless driving and road rage. Help avoid anger behind the wheel by leaving yourself enough time to get to your destination, listen to soothing music, take a break if you find yourself getting worked up behind the wheel, etc.
- Do not drive distracted. While lots of things can distract a driver, the number one cause of distracted driving is cellphones. If you can’t trust yourself, stash your phone out of reach, turn it off or use an app to silence notifications.
Year in and year out, our award-winning lawyers at the Law Offices of John Day have helped families after a tragic accident caused by inattentive or risky driving. If you need help, we are just a phone call away. We handle all accident cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you and your family. We are happy to talk to you about your case for free so that you can understand if you have a case and your legal rights. Give us a call.