The National Safety Council (NSC) estimate of total motor-vehicle deaths for the first six months of 2021 is 21,450, up 16% from 18,480 in 2020 and up 17% from 18,384 in 2019. Mileage in the first six months of 2021 rebounded 13% from COVID lows in 2020 but still lags 2019 mileage by nearly 6%. The estimated mileage death rate in 2021 is 1.43 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, up 3% from 1.39 in 2020 and up 24% from 1.15 in 2019.
For the first time since 2007, preliminary data from the National Safety Council show that as many as 42,060 people are estimated to have died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020. That marks an 8% increase over 2019 in a year where people drove significantly less frequently because of the pandemic. The preliminary estimated rate of death on the roads last year spiked 24% over the previous 12-month period, despite miles driven dropping 13%. The increase in the rate of death is the highest estimated year-over-year jump that NSC has calculated since 1924 – 96 years. It underscores the nation’s persistent failure to prioritize safety on the roads, which became emptier but far more deadly.
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