Driving is an inherently risky activity. Despite all of the safety features integrated into modern vehicles and the training that people must undergo to secure a driver’s license, crashes constantly occur. Although many of these crashes are minor and only cause property damage or negligible injuries, some of them leave people with permanent medical issues or result in fatalities.
Looking at crash statistics can be a way to determine the right public policies and personal practices to minimize collision risk. Every year, the federal government collects crash data from every state and looks at trends in the kinds of accidents that occur, the reasons for the crashes and their impact on the people involved.
Do statistics currently indicate that the roads are now more dangerous than they have been in recent years?
2020 and 2021 brought concerning increases in fatal wrecks
According to data from the last two years, crash rates are on the rise again after slowly declining for several years. In 2020, there was a spike in fatal crashes despite a drop in the total number of miles driven. 2021 saw even more serious collisions.
Between January and September of 2021, roughly 31,720 people died in crashes. That is a 12% increase from the 28,325 deaths over the same nine months in 2020. Overall, the data from the first nine months of 2021 showed approximately 1.36 deaths for every 100 million miles traveled.
Researchers did note a drop in fatalities in the second and third quarters, which might mean that the last quarter of 2021 and 2022 could see crash and fatality rates drop again.
What does that increase mean for you?
It is hard to know if the end of 2021 and 2022 will show a continued increase in collisions overall or if the downward trend later in 2021 will continue instead. It may be some time before any final analysis of 2021 crash data is available from federal safety agencies.
Clearly, you can not simply avoid driving because the risk of a crash is higher, but you also shouldn’t ignore the slight increase in your risk either. Reviewing defensive driving tactics, checking how much insurance you carry and making safety your top priority every time you drive could reduce your risk of suffering major losses in a motor vehicle collision.