Car Accident Fatalities Continue To Trend Upward
2021 was a deadly year for U.S. drivers
Car accident fatalities continued to climb higher last year, reaching a 16-year high due to the largest one-year increase in car accident deaths ever recorded, according to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and reported on by numerous news organizations, including The Associated Press.
“We face a crisis on America’s roadways that we must address together,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement recently released by the NHTSA. “With our National Roadway Safety Strategy and the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are taking critical steps to help reverse this devastating trend and save lives on our roadways.”
Fatal car accident statistics
The number of people who died last year in car crashes increased by a record 10.5 percent, the largest one-year increase since the NHTSA began collecting car accident fatality statistics in 1975.
In 2021, a total of 42,915 people died in car accidents. In contrast, 38,824 were killed in car crashes in 2020, which experienced one of the largest increases in car accident fatalities before the record-setting 2021 increase. In 2020, car accident deaths increased by 7.2 percent compared to 2019, according to NHTSA statistics.
At the time, the 7.2 increase in car accident fatalities was the largest single-year increase “since just after World War II,” according to a New York Times article.
According to the NHTSA, some of the reasons why car accident fatalities were higher in 2021 include:
- 16 percent increase in multi-vehicle crashes.
- 16 percent increase in car accident fatalities on urban roads.
- 14 percent increase in car accident deaths involving drivers over 65 years old.
- 13 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities.
- 13 percent increase in fatal crashes involving at least one large truck.
- 9 percent increase in motorcycle accident fatalities.
- 5 percent increase in fatal bicycle accidents.
- 5 percent increase in fatal crashes caused by speeding drivers.
- 5 percent increase in drunk driving fatalities.
Every driver has a responsibility to keep our roadways safe for themselves and others. That means you shouldn't engage in reckless driving behaviors such as speeding, drunk driving, texting while driving (and other forms of distracted driving), tailgating, aggressive driving, fatigued driving, and failing to adjust for road conditions.
You can also help prevent severe injury or death by remembering to buckle up, whether you're a passenger or sitting in the driver's seat. According to the CDC, you are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash if you're not wearing a seatbelt. That's a big deal, because over 75% of people who are ejected during a crash end up dying from their injuries.
How to file a wrongful death claim
If someone you love died in a fatal car, motorcycle, or truck accident through no fault of their own, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, bringing civil action against the at-fault driver can hold them accountable and help prevent your family from losing financial stability.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your loved one's death, you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Funeral costs.
- Medical bills.
- Loss of the deceased's future earnings.
- Loss of inheritance.
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional suffering.
- Loss of consortium, which refers to the loss of companionship and intimacy between a married couple.
Cases involving fatal car accidents are always complicated, and it's common for surviving family members to have a lot of questions about their legal rights and options. At Ausman Law Firm P.C., L.L.O., we're proud to help families in Nebraska get the compensation they need and deserve following the wrongful death of a loved one.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today for a free and confidential consultation. Our office is located in Omaha, and we look forward to hearing from you.