Traffic fatalities rose in 2020 despite pandemic
A car accident attorney explains what drivers in North Carolina should know
Due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic last year, Americans drove far less than usual in 2020. Even so, car accident fatalities increased dramatically last year and reached the highest figure in 13 years, according to preliminary estimates recently released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In 2020, an estimated 38,680 people died nationwide in motor vehicle accidents. That is the most traffic fatalities in the country since 2007. Last year’s estimated number of fatalities represents a 7.2% increase compared to 2019, when there were 36,096 traffic fatalities nationwide.
“Safety is the top priority for the U.S. Department of Transportation,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Acting Administrator. “Loss of life is unacceptable on our nation’s roadways. Everyone has a role to play in ensuring that they are safe. We intend to use all available tools to reverse these trends and reduce traffic fatalities and injuries.”
Why did traffic fatalities increase in 2020?
The NHTSA reported that Americans drove 430.2 billion miles less in 2020, a decrease of 13.2% compared to 2019, according to U.S. News & World Report. Even so, motor vehicle accidents increased by large margins in many categories in 2020 compared to 2019. Some of the largest increases in traffic fatalities in 2020 involved:
- Unrestrained occupants of passenger vehicles (people not wearing seatbelts) (up 15% in 2020 compared to 2019)
- Urban interstate fatalities (up 15%)
- Speeding-related fatalities (up 11%)
- Fatal nighttime accidents (up 11%)
- Fatal weekend accidents (up 9%)
- Rollover accidents (up 9%)
- Drunk driving accidents (up 9%)
These are just some of the NHTSA’s preliminary findings for last year’s accident statistics. Additional data is still being compiled by state and federal officials.
Fatal crashes in North Carolina
Like the rest of the country, traffic fatalities last year in North Carolina were significantly higher last year compared to 2019, according to preliminary estimates by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, as reported by The Associated Press.
In 2020, an estimated 1,506 people died in motor vehicle accidents in North Carolina, an 8% increase compared to 2019, despite a 19% decrease in the number of miles driven in the state last year.
The estimated 1,506 motor vehicle deaths in North Carolina in 2020 represents the first time more than 1,500 people have died in car accidents in the state since 2007. According to state officials, speeding was a factor in an estimated 25% of traffic fatalities in North Carolina last year.
If you've been injured, a lawyer can protect your rights
Attorney Richard Flexner and the talented legal team at our law firm have years of experience dealing with complicated legal cases. As a result, we know how to investigate accidents, preserve evidence, and help you fight for every dollar you deserve to cover the cost of your accident-related expenses.
Depending on the specific details of your case, you may be able to secure financial compensation for your current and future medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, replacement services, your pain and suffering, and any other compensable damages.
To learn more about your legal rights and options after you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact us at our Wilmington, North Carolina office for a free case evaluation. We proudly serve clients in Pender, Brunswick, and New Hanover counties.