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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released its early estimates of traffic fatalities covering the first nine months of 2021. The findings proved what many media outlets had already seen: the U.S. has an alarming upward trend of car crash fatalities. As the Los Angeles accident report indicates a rise in fatalities across the city, many residents are left concerned. What exactly is being done to stop this alarming trend?
Los Angeles Accident Report Finds Rising Fatalities
According to the NHTSA report, 31,720 people died in car crashes nationwide, upwards of 12% compared to the first nine months of 2020. While many might attribute this rise to the pandemic and fewer cars on the road in 2020, 2021’s numbers are the highest seen since 2006.
Perhaps even more chilling is this statistic from the new National Roadway Safety Strategy. It reports that fatalities among black people increased 23% compared to the average overall increase of 7.2% between 2019 and 2020.
Across California, NHTSA’s report indicated even higher numbers. With an average increase of 17.2%, 3,246 fatalities occurred in the first nine months of 2021. LA county traffic accidents also increased in 2021 by 24%, with 294 total fatalities reported by city officials.
The LA Traffic Accident Increase Also Affects Pedestrians
Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are not exempt from this rising trend. The State Highway Safety Office (SHSO) estimates that 6,721 pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2020, an increase of 4.8% from 2019. From 2010 to 2019, they saw an astounding increase of 46% for pedestrian fatalities, compared to only 5% for other traffic deaths.
Pedestrian accidents in LA also rose in 2021 compared to 2020, including accidents with bicyclists. The Los Angeles Police Department reports that pedestrian deaths increased by 6% to 128 fatalities. Pedestrian injuries also increased 35% from 2020 with 486 pedestrians considered severely injured.
Why We Are Seeing an Increase in Traffic Accidents
While there are many reasons why car crashes happen, the pandemic may be contributing to the rising California car crash statistics. The New York Times cites the rise in pedestrian fatalities during the pandemic as a result of rising anxiety, pandemic drinking and social norms changing. The New York Times also spoke to Dr. David Spiegel who works as the director of Stanford Medical School’s Center on Stress and Health. Dr. Spiegel theorizes that the over stimulus in fear for the virus made people more disengaged on other risks; therefore, drivers aren’t paying as much attention to the road. The NHTSA also reports that the vehicle miles traveling during the first nine months of 2021 increased 11.7%, likely due to the push to travel locally and decreased COVID-19 restrictions.
Besides the pandemic, other issues are at fault for this rising trend in traffic accidents. LA officials attribute the growing trend to cellphone usage, speeding, reckless driving, and bigger and heavier cars. An aging population is also more vulnerable to accidents. Even newer safety features like rear view cameras and lane departure notifications leave drivers less aware as they rely on the car’s features rather than their own eyes.
The New Plan to Stop Los Angeles Car Accidents
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced a new plan known as the National Roadway Safety Strategy to reduce bad car accidents. Buttigieg calls the plan, “America’s first-ever national, comprehensive plan to significantly reduce deaths and injuries on our roads.” Biden’s new infrastructure plan acknowledges the inevitability of human error and focuses on redesigning roads, reducing speeds, and adding more safety features.
Increased resources from the federal government will affect cities across the U.S. as they plan to work with every level of government. For local governments, the plan will focus on giving enough resources to shorten ambulance times and construct safer roads. LA’s Vision Zero program, launched by Mayor Eric Garcetti, has a lofty goal of ending traffic deaths by 2025, but transportation advocates argue the program is underfunded. Many hope the new National Roadway Safety Strategy will initiate change for the city and nationwide.
Meet With a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer
While Americans wait for the new plan to take effect and safer traffic measures to be implemented, the Los Angeles accident report indicates that accidents are still on the rise. If you find yourself a victim of a traffic accident, consult with a Los Angeles car accident lawyer. At Avrek Law, we have recovered more than $1 billion for our clients in over 25,000 cases. Contact our team today to get a free consultation or read more about our no win, no fee policy.