The United States is witnessing a critical and alarming upsurge in traffic-related fatalities, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) disclosing preliminary estimates that project a distressing increase in deaths due to traffic crashes. According to these early assessments, approximately 42,915 lives were lost in motor vehicle accidents in 2021. This figure marks a 10.5% escalation from 2020, which recorded 38,824 fatalities, making it the highest death toll since 2005 and presenting the most substantial yearly percentage increase since the inception of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. These numbers are not just statistics; they represent individual lives and families irreversibly affected by these tragedies.
The Secretary of U.S. Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, has voiced his concern over this crisis on America’s roadways. He emphasized the urgent need for collective endeavors to combat this alarming rise in roadway deaths. The introduction of the National Roadway Safety Strategy and the implementation of the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are seen as pivotal moves aimed at reversing this grim trend and enhancing road safety.
The recent implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law reflects a strategic focus on enhancing roadway safety. A noteworthy inclusion is the Safe Streets and Roads for All program, a groundbreaking initiative that commits up to $6 billion over the next five years to bolster local initiatives aiming to diminish road accidents and related fatalities. This law champions the adoption of Complete Streets policies and mandates substantial revisions to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, outlining the specifications for lane markings, traffic lights, speeds, and more across numerous national roads. It also significantly augments the budget allocation for the Highway Safety Improvement Program, which is instrumental in aiding states to employ data-informed strategies for roadway safety enhancements.
The Deputy Administrator of NHTSA, Dr. Steven Cliff, echoes the urgency of addressing this preventable crisis and calls for concerted efforts from local and state governments, safety advocates, automakers, and the driving public. The commitment to safety must be redoubled, and the collaboration is vital, as the stakes are high – the lives of millions depend on the success of these initiatives.
Last week marked the initiation of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign by the NHTSA, a significant move aligning with rigorous enforcement efforts to enlighten the public about the life-saving potential of seat belts. Furthermore, a specialized technical assistance program has been launched to aid states in countering the escalating trend in fatalities decisively. Also, the release of $740 million in funding for various safety programs signifies the reinforced commitment to address the identified gaps and enhance partnerships focusing on risk-driving behaviors and safety of the vulnerable and overrepresented populations in the traffic ecosystem.
A detailed examination of the 2021 traffic fatalities reveals the persisting state-level challenges during the pandemic era. Preliminary records indicate that vehicular travel increased by around 325 billion miles or approximately 11.2% compared to 2020. Furthermore, a discernible rise in fatalities was observed in multiple categories, such as multi-vehicle crashes, urban road incidents, and crashes involving senior drivers, large trucks, pedestrians, and cyclists.
The comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy of the U.S. Department of Transportation encompasses a safe system approach, integrating multiple layers of protection, including safer roads, safer vehicles, safer individuals, optimized speeds, and enhanced post-crash care. The ongoing application acceptance for the Fiscal Year 2022 under the Safe Streets for All program accentuates the relentless pursuit of safer streets and enhanced protection for all road users.
The dire scenario depicted by the fatality estimates underscores the immediate need for revolutionary changes in roadway safety protocols and strategies. The collective and focused actions stemming from collaborative efforts among governments, advocacy groups, and the public are the beacon of hope in transforming the current crisis into an opportunity for establishing enduring roadway safety and saving countless lives.
If you or a loved one has been affected by the devastating impact of a traffic accident, now is the time to act and seek justice. Parker Waichman LLP is here to guide you every step of the way and ensure your rights are protected. Our experienced team of attorneys is well-versed in navigating the complexities of traffic law and is dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for your case.
Don’t let your suffering go unaddressed. Reach out to us for your free consultation. Let us bear the burden of the legal process and fight for the financial compensation your case deserves while you focus on healing and recovery. With our decades of legal experience, our firm will work diligently to hold the responsible parties accountable and secure a fair resolution for you and your loved ones.
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