Vehicle deaths reached 13-year high in 2020: National Safety Council

Dive Brief:
Motor vehicle fatalities in 2020 reached their highest point since 2007 in the United States, according to preliminary data released by the National Safety Council (NSC) last week, leading road safety advocates to call for action to prevent deaths.

NSC said fatalities spiked 8% in 2020 to 42,060, even as vehicle miles driven dropped 13% due to the coronavirus pandemic. And the estimated death rate from crashes rose 24% from 2019, the highest year-on-year increase NSC has calculated since 1924. NSC said that figure shows people are driving faster and involved in more deadly crashes.

In response, NSC and a slew of other organizations called for the federal government to redouble its efforts to reduce roadway deaths. NSC urged President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to commit to zero fatalities on the nation’s roads by 2050, while other groups like the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) called on leaders to embrace technology to help reduce deaths.