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Fatal auto accident rates see an unprecedented increase in 2020

| May 17, 2021 | Injuries, Motor Vehicle Accidents |

In March 2021, the National Safety Council reported that auto accident fatalities in the U.S. increased by an estimated 24% from 2019 to 2020. This represents the highest such increase since the NSC began collecting car collision data in 1924.

Review the report based on preliminary NSC numbers and learn more about the factors behind the dramatic increase in fatal auto accidents last year.

Auto accident statistics for 2020

Early data for 2020 from the NSC revealed approximately:

  • 42,060 auto accident fatalities
  • 8 million auto accident injuries
  • $474 billion societal expense associated with car accident injuries and fatalities

In addition, eight states saw an increase of more than 15% in their 2020 auto accident fatality rate.

NSC recommendations

In conjunction with the Road to Zero Coalition, the NSC has made these recommendations to reduce the number of auto accident deaths:

  • Implementation of automatic traffic light adherence and speed control devices
  • Reduction of speed limits as appropriate based on road design
  • Reduction of blood alcohol content levels for driving under the influence convictions to 0.05% with mandatory ignition interlock device use after conviction
  • Improved fairness in the administration of road safety laws and procedures
  • Primary enforcement of seat belt and restraint laws
  • Restricted licensing programs for drivers up to age 21 instead of age 18
  • Improved community-based bike and pedestrian safety laws and initiatives
  • Motorcycle helmet mandates
  • Standardization of safe automatic driver assistance equipment
  • Prohibition of hands-free cell phone use with primary enforcement in all states

In response to these startling numbers, NSC and other advocacy organizations have asked President Joe Biden to commit to a goal of zero auto accident deaths by 2050.