Traffic Deaths Increase 10.5% in 2021
This past Monday the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the final accounting for the crash toll on United States roads for 2021. There was a 10.5% increase in the number of deaths as compared to 2020. That is the highest number since 2005 and the largest percentage increase since 1975! At a news conference, a speaker from NHTSA focused a lot on distracted driving fatalities which are, of course, entirely preventable if people stop using their cell phones, eating, or doing other things that divert attention from the road.
NHTSA also announced a $5 million advertising campaign designed to keep drivers focused on the road.
The number of pedestrians killed rose by 13% and cyclist fatalities were up 2% for the year. The number of unbelted passengers killed rose 8.1% over 2020 while fatalities involving alcohol-impaired drivers were up a whopping 14%!
In Anoka County, in 2021 there were a total of 3538 crashes and 27 deaths. 8 of those deaths were alcohol-related. Motorcycle deaths were 7 and 2 of those were alcohol-related.
To put this all in perspective, the economic impact of 107 fatalities in Anoka County between 2017 and 2021 was $177,514,000.
I routinely get phone calls from people who have been injured in crashes and virtually every single case these folks who call me were doing absolutely nothing wrong. Most of them were just sitting in traffic when they got rear-ended by someone who wasn't paying attention. I just got a call this morning from a friend at church who was rear-ended last October and now finds herself needing three-level disc surgery in her neck. Undoubtedly that surgery is going to cost over $100,000. In addition, she is going to be virtually incapacitated for about 6 weeks and the economic impact on her family is going to be significant.