2022 is not boding well for drivers. U.S. traffic deaths rose 0.5% in the first half of 2022 to 20,175, the highest number killed in the period since 2006, according to an early estimate released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”). The NHTSA estimates that 9,560 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the first quarter of 2022. This is an increase of about 7% as compared to the 8,935 fatalities projected for the same quarter in 2021. This would be the highest number of first-quarter fatalities since 2002, making it a 20-year high.
Unsafe Driving Has Increased Since the Pandemic
Since the pandemic lockdowns lifted, traffic fatalities have steadily increased as more drivers populate the roads and engage in unsafe behavior. NHTSA research showed motorists were far more willing to speed and drive while not wearing their seatbelts than before the pandemic and that some motorists perceived police were less likely to issue tickets, resulting in riskier behavior on the roads. These findings come just months after the NHTSA released its estimate of traffic fatalities for all of 2021, projecting the highest number of fatalities since 2005 and the largest annual percentage increase in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System's history. According to the NHTSA, an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year, representing a 10.5% increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020.
What to Do to Avoid Accidents or If you Have Been in an Accident
What does this mean for you? Be careful out there! Attentive and defensive driving is the best way to avoid an accident. Put the phone away and put a light foot on the pedal. Speeding and distracted driving are the number one causes of accidents per the NHTSA. Be mindful that aggressive driving to get ahead of the pack may only save you minutes. On the other hand, arriving just a little later could save your life. As attorneys who have represented hundreds of drivers and passengers injured in car accidents, we know how quickly an accident can happen than can change you and your family's life forever. This is why we share tips on safe driving, information to ensure you have enough, and the right types of, insurance coverage, and, to best protect yourself and your insurance claim, best practices on what to do after an accident. If you have been in a car accident and have questions about your coverage or your injuries, never hesitate to contact us for a free no-cost, no-obligation consultation.