Preliminary Semiannual Estimates

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The National Safety Council (NSC) estimate of total motor-vehicle deaths for 2020 is 42,060, up 8% from 39,107 in 2019. The estimated annual population death rate is 12.8 deaths per 100,000 population, up from 11.9 in 2019. The estimated mileage death rate is 1.49 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, up 24% from 1.20 in 2019. Estimated vehicle miles traveled for 2020 indicate over a 13% decrease compared to 2019, from 3,260 billion to 2,830 billion.

medically consulted injury is an injury serious enough that a medical professional was consulted. Based on the current medically consulted injury-to-death ratio of 114:1, and rounded to the nearest thousand, the estimated number of nonfatal medically consulted injuries resulting from crashes during in 2020 was 4,795,000.

The estimated cost of motor-vehicle deaths, injuries, and property damage in 2020 was $474.4 billion.

Publication Date: 4 March 2021

Publication Site: National Safety Council

Motor Vehicle Deaths in 2020 Estimated to be Highest in 13 Years, Despite Dramatic Drops in Miles Driven

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/motor-vehicle-deaths-in-2020-estimated-to-be-highest-in-13-years-despite-dramatic-drops-in-miles-driven-301240410.html

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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.  

Author(s): National Safety Council

Publication Date: 4 March 2021

Publication Site: PR Newswire

More people died on Illinois roads last year than since 2007. Is the pandemic to blame?

Link: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-illinois-more-traffic-deaths-pandemic-20210212-4ybopm6pvbelpeorspd3cxm7gy-htmlstory.html#new_tab

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Nearly 160 more people died on Illinois roads last year than in 2019, making 2020 the deadliest year for Illinois drivers in 13 years, a surge officials say may have been fed by drivers speeding on roads left open by motorists who stayed home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 1,166 people died in motor vehicle crashes in Illinois in 2020, a nearly 16% increase over 2019, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. That’s a provisional number, said IDOT spokesperson Guy Tridgell, since it takes the state agency 12-18 months to finalize annual data.

Illinois traffic fatalities haven’t been that high since 2007, when 1,248 people died, according to recent and historic state data. Deaths include drivers, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Author(s): LESLIE BONILLA

Publication Date: 12 February 2021

Publication Site: Chicago Tribune

Study finds smaller cars may be why crashes injure women more

Link: https://nypost.com/2021/02/11/study-smaller-cars-may-be-why-crashes-injure-women-more/

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The smaller, lighter vehicles that women more often drive and the types of crashes they get into, may explain why they are much more likely to suffer a serious injury in a collision than men, a new study published Thursday found.

Researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a research group supported by auto insurers, looked into whether there was some sort of gender bias in the research into vehicle crashes or whether body type had anything to do with the injuries.

Author(s): Associated Press

Publication Date: 11 February 2021

Publication Site: NY Pose

Update to Special Reports on Traffic Safety During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Third Quarter Data

Link: https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/traffic_safety_during_covid19_01062021_0.pdf

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To a large extent, the risky traffic safety behaviors observed in Q2 continued in Q3. Frequency of triptaking continued to be lower, and a greater percentage of people stayed home in Q3 2020 compared to Q\3 2019. Ejection rates remained elevated compared to the same period a year earlier. New data on seat belt use among seriously injured drivers and passengers suggests that the belt use rate among those in serious crashes decreased in the early phases of the public health emergency at the study sites, but that rate may now be rebounding. The data also suggested that alcohol- and other drug-positive drivers and passengers who were seriously or fatally injured were much less likely to wear a seat belt than their counterparts who tested negative for all the drugs included in the study.

Speed data from the NPMRDS shows higher speeds in urban roadways across roadway types in Q3 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Further, the greater speed dispersion in rural areas observed in Q2 continued in Q3 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

Regarding alcohol and other drug prevalence among seriously and fatally injured drivers at the five trauma center study sites, more than 29% in the most recent period (July 19 to September 30) had measurable alcohol in their systems, with over 26% testing positive for the presence of cannabinoids and over 13% positive for opioids. In the same period, the percentage of drivers testing positive for at least one category of drugs remained above 60%, with nearly 25% testing positive for multiple
categories of drugs. These observed increases in alcohol and other drug prevalence relative to before the public health emergency are consistent with the reported data that showed increases in marijuana and alcohol sales and consumption during the public health emergency. Overall, these data sets continue to have great potential to improve our understanding of the prevalence of drugs and alcohol among different types of seriously and fatally injured road users, as well as how prevalence may be changing over time during the public health emergency.

Author(s): Office of Behavioral Safety Research

Publication Date: January 2021

Publication Site: NHTSA

NHTSA Confirms What You And I Already Know, People Are Driving Like Idiots

Link: https://www.autoweek.com/news/industry-news/a34243178/nhtsa-confirms-what-you-and-i-already-know-people-are-driving-like-idiots/

Excerpt:

NHTSA just released some specs. When you look at the second quarter of 2020, the first full quarter of the pandemic, total traffic deaths have decreased by three percent compared to the second quarter of 2019. That translates into 302 fewer fatalities than the same period last year. I’m not discounting that drop, since Each man’s death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind. However, the traffic volume didn’t drop just three percent, it dropped more than 16 percent. There should have been a lot fewer deaths than there were. The difference is idiots like the one I encountered.

NHTSA said that because traffic volumes decreased more significantly than the number of fatal crashes, the traffic fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles travelled is projected to increase to 1.25 in the first half of 2020, up from 1.06 in the same period in 2019.

Author(s): MARK VAUGHN

Publication Date: 2 October 2020

Publication Site: Autoweek