WASHINGTON (AP) — The variety of U.S. visitors deaths surged within the first 9 months of 2021 to 31,720, the federal government reported Tuesday, maintaining a file tempo of elevated harmful driving in the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
The estimated determine of individuals dying in motorized vehicle crashes from January to September 2021 was 12 % increased than the identical interval in 2020. That represents the very best proportion improve over a nine-month interval because the Transportation Division started recording deadly crash information in 1975.
The tally of 31,720 deaths was the very best nine-month determine since 2006.
Federal information from the division’s Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration confirmed that visitors fatalities elevated in the course of the nine-month interval in 38 states, led by these within the West and South comparable to Idaho, Nevada and Texas, and was flat in two states. The numbers declined in 10 states and the District of Columbia.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has pledged assist and launched a brand new nationwide technique final week geared toward reversing the pattern, which he calls a disaster. He informed The Related Press final week that his division over the following two years will present federal steerage in addition to billions in grants below President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure legislation to spur states and localities to decrease velocity limits and embrace safer highway design comparable to devoted bike and bus lanes, higher lighting and crosswalks. The technique additionally urges using velocity cameras, which the division says may present extra equitable enforcement than police visitors stops.
Buttigieg cited as nicely security advantages below the infrastructure legislation by constructing out various modes of journey to vehicles comparable to rail and public transit, “if solely as a result of each different mode of transportation is safer.”
NHTSA additionally plans to maneuver ahead on rulemaking to require computerized emergency braking in all new passenger automobiles, and set new requirements on automobile security efficiency by emphasizing crash-avoidance options comparable to lane-keeping help, although no agency deadlines have been set for motion.
Site visitors deaths started to spike in 2019. NHTSA has blamed reckless driving conduct for will increase in the course of the pandemic, citing behavioral analysis displaying that dashing and touring with out a seat belt have been increased. Earlier than 2019, the variety of fatalities had fallen for 3 straight years.
Site visitors deaths for the primary 9 months of the 12 months at the moment are up virtually 33 % over the previous decade as auto security advocates urge motion by NHTSA to implement security guidelines ordered by Congress, comparable to rear seat belt reminders, which might be years overdue. Practically 7,800 extra individuals died from January via September in 2021 in contrast with figures from 2011, in line with authorities estimates.
“Individuals make errors, however human errors don’t at all times must be deadly. In a well-designed system, security measures ensure that human fallibility doesn’t result in human fatalities,” Buttigieg mentioned Tuesday in a press release. “That’s what we can be doing for America’s roads with the Nationwide Roadway Security Technique and the secure system strategy that it embraces.”
Jonathan Adkins, govt director of the Governors Freeway Security Affiliation, which represents state security workplaces, described the newest figures as a “nightmare” however mentioned the Biden administration seems to be taking the precise strategy on broad security fixes.
“We’ve obtained to do extra of what works. Site visitors enforcement has obtained to be a part of the answer,” he mentioned. “However we’ve obtained to take a look at how we construct roads. We’ve obtained to take a look at the entire system.”
AP Auto Author Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this report.