Traffic deaths in the 1960s and 1970s often topped 50,000 per year. Since that time, however, the number of fatalities per year has been trending down. This has been an impressive feat considering there are more and more people in the U.S. every year, and it highlights how vehicles are in fact getting safer.
The early 2000s saw about 40,000 deaths per year, but nothing has topped that since 2007. Annual fatalities have consistently been under 40,000 and have continued trending down.
However, 2020 saw a rise of more than 7%, as more than 38,000 people lost their lives in car accidents in the United States. This was the highest total since 2007, and it was very concerning for researchers to see things apparently moving in the wrong direction. This raises questions about what the future will hold, and whether or not we will see traffic deaths go back up to 40,000 or above this year and beyond.
Or is this just a momentary spike?
One optimistic way to look at this is to just consider the numbers in 2020 and 2021 to be a slight spike in the statistics, not an indicator of things to come. This has happened in the past. Even when the overall trend is for fewer annual fatalities in the big picture, there have been outlier years before.
As of right now, of course, it’s too early to tell. But it is clear that there are a lot of risks on the road, and these statistics indicate they may only be getting worse. If you lose a loved one in a fatal car accident caused by another driver, you need to know if you have a right to seek financial compensation for funeral costs, lost wages, medical bills and much more.