USDOT calls for a national roadway strategy to curb rising traffic fatalities

The federal Department of Transportation is talking about radically changing federal roadway safety policy after new stats showed the largest six-month increase in roadway fatalities ever recorded by the agency.

A shocking 18.4% more people died on US roads in the first six months of 2021 compared to the same period last year — a death toll that represents roughly 20,160 lives lost and innumerable bereaved families, according to early estimates released last week by the US DOT. The department did not reveal how many vulnerable road users were killed in that surge, but if trends mirror the historic 22% spike in pedestrian fatalities between 2019 and 2020, advocates fear it may have been one of the deadliest years ever for people outside motor vehicles, too.

New research that accompanied the estimates suggests that the surge was largely attributable to increased rates of speeding, which spiked on quarantine-emptied roads but remained endemic even as Americans returned to their driving commutes.