Traffic fatalities in the United States leapt by 7% in the first quarter of 2022 to 9,560. This number represents the highest number killed on American roads in the quarterly period since 2002, regulators confirmed during a preliminary statement on Wednesday.
Traffic deaths have been steadily increasing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed. In 2021, U.S. traffic death increased by 10.5% in 2021 to 42,915, which is the highest number killed on American roads in a single year since 2005.
Fatalities on the road increased as the lockdown measures ended and deaths in the first three months of 2022 are up 21% over the 7,893 from the same time period in 2020.
“The overall numbers are still moving in the wrong direction. Now is the time for all states to double down on traffic safety. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, there are more resources than ever for research, interventions and effective messaging and programs that can reverse the deadly trend and save lives,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, who is NHTSA’s outgoing Administrator said following the news release.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) hit out at the government for not having a clear plan to deal with “this immediate crisis.”
“We have seen a troubling lack of commitment to take action to stop the slaughter occurring on our roads,” MADD said in a statement on Wednesday. MADD also called for a “return to the basics of enforcing hazardous driving behavior laws and prosecuting these choices to the fullest extent of the law.”
Governors Highway Safety Association Director Jonathan Adkins said “tragically, the U.S. is on its way to a third straight year of surging roadway deaths.”
In 2021, the number of pedestrians killed also increased by 13% to 7,342, the biggest increase since 1981. The number of people on bicycles who were killed increased by 5% to 985, the most since at least 1980, NHTSA said.
Experts have said that when lockdown measures were in place, there was scope for drivers to drive a little more recklessly due to the lower likelihood of being issued with a ticket.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BLOOMBERG
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