Federal Data Shows Increase In Car Crashes, Injuries

Newly released federal data indicates that in 2019, vehicular crashes and injuries rose while pedestrian and cyclist fatalities fell. StreetsBlog, a website covering transportation issues and pedestrian safety, suggests that this data reflects “that doctors are getting better at saving lives after collisions while our streets remain as dangerous as ever.”

According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019 there was a total of 36,096 deaths resulting from  vehicle crashes, down from 36,835 in 2018. There were 630 fewer passenger vehicle occupant fatalities; 169 fewer pedestrian fatalities; 25 fewer pedalcyclist fatalities; 568 fewer alcohol-impaired driving fatalities; and 813 fewer urban fatalities.

These decreases come against the backdrop of a slight increase in total crashes, up to 6.76 million in 2019 from 6.74 million in 2018. As StreetsBlog notes as well, the number of traffic injuries increased from 2018 to 2019 by roughly 30,000. Statistics look even more dire at the state level, the article notes: “Ohio, New Mexico and Tennessee all allowed eight percent or greater increases in total fatalities, while Wyoming and Maine posted horrifying double-digit increases.”

One possible reason for the only slight decreases in fatalities, according to StreetsBlog, may be the “SUV-ification of America.” The NHTSA notes a 13% increase in occupants of “large trucks,” a 2.9% increase in non-occupants  killed by “megacars,” and an a 33% increase in injuries caused by large vehicles.

The NHTSA has also released a supplementary report on the first two quarters of 2020, Among other things, the report projects that while overall fatalities in the second quarter of the year decreased, “there is a projected increase in the proportion of fatalities that occurred in rural areas, among younger people 16 to 24 years old, with risky drivers, in rollovers and ejections, and among occupants of older vehicles (10+ years).”

More information on the 2019 crash and injury data is available via StreetsBlog and the NHTSA.

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