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Motor Vehicle Safety: Early Data Shows Highway Fatalities Hit a 15-Year High in First Half of 2021

In October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its early estimate of the nation’s motor vehicle accident fatality data for the first half of 2021. The preliminary estimate finds that 20,160 were killed in car crashes in the United States between January 1st, 2021 and June 30th, 2021. Sadly, that marks a 15-year high in nationwide traffic deaths and a continued trend in the wrong direction. In this article, our Spokane motor vehicle accident lawyers provide an overview of the latest highway safety data from the NHTSA.

Alarming News: Huge Spikes in Traffic Deaths in the First Half of 2021

2020 was a bad year for serious car crashes in the United States. The motor vehicle accident fatality rate jumped by nearly 24 percent on a year-over-year basis. Unfortunately, the early data suggests that things are still going in the wrong direction. Here are the highlights from the NHTSA’s initial traffic safety report:

  1. A Huge Spike in Traffic Death in Q1 and Q2: Highway safety officials estimate that 8,935 people were killed in car accidents in the first quarter of 2021 — a 13.1 percent increase from the same period in 2020. The initial estimate is that 11,225 people were killed in car crashes in the second quarter of 2021 — a 23.1 percent increase from the same period in 2020.
  2. Car Accident Deaths Typically Rise in the Second Half of the Year: Unfortunately, the worst may not yet be reflected in the official federal traffic safety data. Highway deaths in the United States are almost always higher in the Q3 and Q4. Typically, between 55 and 60 percent of motor vehicle accident fatalities occur in the second half of the year.

Deadly Accidents Rising in Every Region—Pacific Northwest Hardest Hit

In compiling and analyzing its data, NHTSA breaks the United States into ten separate regions. All ten regions saw an increase in motor vehicle deaths in the first half of 2021. Unfortunately, the largest spike occurred in the Pacific Northwest. Car accident deaths were 26 percent higher in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska in the first half of 2021 than the first half of 2020.

A Preliminary Report: Data Will Be Revised

It is important to emphasize that this is the NHTSA’s preliminary highway safety data for the first half of 2021. Federal regulators caution the public that there will still be revisions to these initial estimates. That being said, the agency’s preliminary reports for the last several years have painted a broadly accurate picture. Revisions are typically relatively modest.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer in Spokane

At‌ ‌Albrecht‌ ‌Law‌ ‌PLLC, our Spokane auto accident attorneys fight tirelessly to help people get the full financial compensation that they deserve. If you were hurt in a car crash, you can rely on our legal team. Reach out to us by phone or send us a direct message for a free review of your legal case. We handle motor vehicle accident injury claims throughout Spokane County, including in Spokane, Liberty Lake, Millwood, Otis Orchards-East Farms, Country Homes, Cheney, and Spangle.

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