In the first six months of 2021, the U.S recorded the highest death toll in the past 15 years. The secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg, considered the event a “crisis,” stating that above 20,000 died in road accidents within the first six months, leaving behind thousands of loved ones. These fatalities can not and should not be accepted as an everyday event in America.
“The increase in road fatalities notwithstanding the restrictions in movement as a result of the pandemic is a cause for concern,” says Lin McCraw, personal injury attorney.
There have been collective efforts from law enforcement agencies and transportation officials to bring down the number of deaths to a bare minimum.
Death Toll Statistics
Drawing from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), an estimated number of 20,160 people died in vehicle traffic crashes within the first half of 2021. This figure represents about an 18.4 percent increase compared with the first half of 2020, which had a figure of 17,020 as projected.
This figure not only represents the highest fatality rate ever recorded in the U.S. since 2006, but it also represents the highest percentage increase ever recorded in a half-year in the data record history.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 8,935 fatalities were recorded in the first quarter, a 13.1 percent increase from previous quarters. The department recorded 11,225 deaths in the second quarter, a 23.1 percent increase. The sum of the two quarters records a total of 20,160 fatalities and a percentage change increase of 18.4%.
Traffic Safety Misbehaviors
Observation reveals that many drivers, especially motorists ignore the speed limits while hurrying to meet up with an occasion, a job, or an appointment. And, they fail to obey basic safety rules like wearing a seat belt, which has increased the number of ejections from fast-moving vehicles.
Private research supervised by the federal transportation safety expert reveals that some drivers use their cell phones to call or chat while behind the wheels. Many fatalities have also been linked to the use of drugs and alcohol during the COVID-19 period. These factors have contributed to the increase in road fatalities.
Sometimes body weakness can also contribute to poor driving, such as sickness or sleepiness. Though this might appear to be outside the driver’s control, it can be managed by just staying out of the wheel for the period.
This suggestion also stands for taking some medication before stepping on the wheels. No matter how compelling, these situations have consequences for the public’s safety.
Caution Against Traffic Safety Misbehaviors
In reaction to these misbehaviors, the deputy administrator of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Dr. Steven Cliff, commented in a sad and cautionary note. He considered the report disheartening.
Drivers could do more to reduce accidents on the road by wearing a seat belt or driving with extra care, which involves avoiding any form of distractions while on the wheel. He urged that everyone put hands on deck to prevent road fatalities and end any form of dangerous driving.
The road safety authorities, including the police, have taken it upon themselves to trail speeders and offenders who violate road safety rules in hopes of reducing accidents and influencing people to take more precautions.
For example, the Government officials of some Districts, the District of Columbia, have vowed to address safety issues involving roads’ optimal signage and speed limits design and construction, particularly to safeguard pedestrians and bicyclists.
Regardless of the spontaneous rise in road fatalities, the situation can still be cushioned by intentionality and selflessness on the part of everyone, which includes drivers and road authorities. If drivers, be you, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or vehicle, can be more responsible behind the wheels, there certainly will be a decreasing change in road accidents.
This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal…
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