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Nearly 43,000 people died on US roads last year, agency says

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Nearly 43,000 people died on US roads last year, agency says
The scene of a fatality car crash, June 2, 2021, in Tulsa, Okla. Nearly 43,000 people were killed on U.S. roads last year, the highest number in 16 years as Americans returned to the highways after the pandemic forced many to stay at home. The 10.5% jump over 2020 numbers was the largest percentage increase since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began its fatality data collection system in 1975. (Tanner Laws/Tulsa World via AP, File)

DETROIT — Nearly 43,000 people were killed on U.S. roads last year, the highest number in 16 years as Americans returned to the highways after the pandemic forced many to stay at home.

The 10.5% jump over 2020 numbers was the largest percentage increase since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began its fatality data collection system in 1975.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said America faces a crisis on its roads. The safety administration urged state and local governments, drivers and safety advocates to join in an effort to reverse the rising death trend.

Preliminary figures released Tuesday, May 17, by the agency show that 42,915 people died in traffic crashes last year, up from 38,824 in 2020. Final figures will be released in the fall.

Americans drove about 325 billion miles last year, 11.2% higher than in 2020, which contributed to the increase in deaths.

Traffic deaths began to spike in 2019. NHTSA has blamed reckless driving behavior for increases during the pandemic, citing behavioral research showing that speeding and traveling without a seat belt have been higher. Before 2019, the number of fatalities had fallen for three straight years.

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The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. The Trucker Media Group is subscriber of The Associated Press has been granted the license to use this content on TheTrucker.com and The Trucker newspaper in accordance with its Content License Agreement with The Associated Press.
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