Road deaths in the United States hit a 16-year high in 2021, the DOT says

Investigators observe an accident scene between an SUV and a gravel-filled semi-trailer near Holtville, California on March 2, 2021.

Patrick T Fallon | AFP | Getty Images

More people died on US roads last year than any year since 2005, according to new data Released Tuesday by federal vehicle safety officials.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a division of the Department of Transportation, estimates 42,915 people died in road accidents in 2021, a 10.5% increase from 38,824 fatalities in 2020. Deaths include pedestrians, cyclists and others. they may have died in an accident.

According to the agency, deaths from multi-vehicle accidents and those on urban roads both increased by 16%, the largest year-over-year increase for accident-specific data. Other notable increases included: deaths of people aged 65 and over, up 14%; pedestrian deaths, up 13%; and fatalities in accidents involving at least one large truck, up 13%.

In a statement on Tuesday, US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg he called the situation “a crisis of the American roads that we must face together”.

Buttigieg said the Biden administration is taking “critical steps to help reverse this devastating trend,” citing the agency’s previously announced National Road Safety Strategy and Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

The NHTSA estimates that traffic fatalities increased in 2021 in 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The greatest number of victims corresponded to a increase in miles traveled on US highways compared to 2020. Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration shows that vehicle miles in 2021 increased by approximately 325 billion miles, or about 11.2%, compared to 2020.

Despite the additional miles traveled, the death rate based on miles traveled has remained roughly the same since 2020. Estimates point to the death rate for 2021 at 1.33 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles driven, compared to 1.34 victims in 2020.