Traffic Fatalities Reach 16-Year High

Early estimates show nearly 43,000 people died in traffic crashes in 2021.
Traffic Fatalities

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2021. That would be the highest total since 2005. It would also mark a 10.5% increase from 2020, the largest annual percentage increase since the organization began tracking fatalities.

“We face a crisis on America’s roadways that we must address together,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With our National Roadway Safety Strategy and the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are taking critical steps to help reverse this devastating trend and save lives on our roadways.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes the new Safe Streets and Roads for All program, which will invest up to $6 billion over five years to fund local efforts to reduce roadway crashes and fatalities.

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The nearly 43,000 deaths also include pedestrian fatalities, which were up 13% from a year ago, and bicyclist fatalities, which rose 5%. Some other notable categories where the traffic fatality count increased include:

  • On urban roads (up 16%)
  • Among drivers 65 and older (up 14%)
  • Among females (up 12%)
  • In crashes involving at least one large truck (up 13%)
  • During daytime (up 11%)
  • In speeding-related crashes (up 5%)
  • In police-reported, alcohol-involvement crashes (up 5%)

Closer to home, the rise in traffic deaths in the Northeast mostly surpassed the national average. A breakdown by state of total fatalities and percentage increase includes:

  • Connecticut: 327; 10.8%
  • Massachusetts: 413; 20.4%
  • New Hampshire: 123; 18.3%
  • New Jersey: 709; 21.4%
  • New York: 1,139; 8.9%
  • Rhode Island: 67; 0.0%

Stay safe on the road this summer with these driving tips from AAA experts.

For more traffic and automotive news, visit AAA.com.

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