According to preliminary figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Florida is one of three states that had the largest increase in motor vehicle deaths in 2021 in a year that saw a 10.5% increase overall compared to 2020. California and Texas were the other two states that had the largest increase. Deaths only decreased in five states and stayed the same in one, Rhode Island.
One factor in the increase is that cars were on the road more in 2021 than 2020. However, officials expressed concern because the national increase is the biggest jump since 1975, the first year the NHTSA began tracking deaths from motor vehicle accidents nationally. Safety advocates at the Governors Highway Safety Association said that roads built to encourage speed over safety were partly to blame along with distracted and impaired driving.
Fatalities increase across demographics
Most types of traffic-related fatalities were on the rise, including accidents in both rural and urban settings. Pedestrian, bicyclist and motorcyclist deaths all increased as did deaths among middle-aged and older drivers along with children younger than 16.
The federal government is responding with a number of different initiatives aimed at curbing reckless driving. This includes changes in design, such as better crosswalks and lighting along with bike lanes. There are also efforts to increase the use of cameras and reduce speed limits. The NHTSA has pending and existing regulations in place that require safer vehicles from automakers, including automatic emergency braking and seat belt alerts for backseat passengers.
Traffic accidents have many different causes ranging from lax law enforcement to careless driver behavior to mechanical failure. Drivers must take care to obey all laws and to avoid driving under conditions that would put them and others in danger.