Department of Transportation’s Road Fatalities Estimate Shows Highest Ever Recorded Increase
November 22, 2021
In its recently released Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities For the First Half (January to June) of 2021 report, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) observed the highest ever recorded increase in transportation deaths to occur in a six-month period. Altogether, the agency counted 20,160 fatalities during that span, representing nearly a 20% jump from the previous year. The DOT’s report draws attention to a growing national public health crisis and highlights the importance of developing effective safety strategies in order to reduce preventable traffic deaths.
For the first time in history, the DOT is producing a program entitled the National Roadway Safety Strategy to identify action steps that can save lives. The program calls on government workers, advocates, engineers, industries and communities across the country to join in creating safer roads and promoting responsible driving behaviors. Driving responsibly is a crucial point: not only did the DOT release its fatality report, but also a behavioral analysis, which found that incidences of motor vehicle occupants not wearing seatbelts and speeding are occurring at a higher rate now than they were during pre-pandemic times. While organizations nationwide need to address ways that they can build and maintain safer roadways, the DOT’s report highlights useful steps that American drivers can start taking now to reduce the likelihood of getting into an accident: slowing down, avoiding distractions, driving sober, and always wearing a seatbelt.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is joining the DOT’s effort by fast-tracking two programs that aim to improve roadway safety. The agency’s first program provides technical assistance resources to states that have the highest motor vehicle fatality rates. The primary purpose of these resources is to assist states in identifying which types of crashes most commonly result in deaths, such as pedestrian/bicycle crashes, intersection crashes, and roadway departures. The second program promotes the use of various road design elements that are proven to reduce accident risks, which includes the installment of bicycle lanes, improved lighting, wider edge lines, variable speed limits, crosswalk visibility enhancements, rectangular rapid flashing beacons, appropriate speed-limit setting, and speed safety measures. Altogether, the FHWA’s program provides 28 road design elements to increase roadway safety.
In Philadelphia, the number of traffic deaths have also increased. According to local reports, traffic deaths increased by 88% from 2019 to 2020. Whereas 83 Philadelphia residents died in fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2019, by 2020 the number jumped to 156. Data shows that some of the top contributing factors behind these deadly crashes include aggressive driving and speeding. Even when accidents are not fatal, they can still lead to catastrophic injuries and in some cases, permanent disability. Here are just a few examples of injuries that can change the course of a motor vehicle crash victim’s life:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Limb loss and amputation
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Disfiguring facial injuries and scars
Why Should You Have an Attorney After an Auto Accident?
If you sustained injuries in a car accident, an attorney can help. Car accident victims often incur lost wages from time away from work, significant medical expenses from ongoing treatment for their injuries, and other substantial losses. In many cases, injured victims require long-term medical care and can experience emotional and psychological issues due to the traumatic nature of the event. An experienced car accident attorney can help you to recover full damages by collecting and presenting evidence that demonstrates negligence on the part of the responsible party or parties, obtaining all necessary medical records to substantiate the victim’s injuries, and filing paperwork within the statute of limitations.
Here are some examples of our firm’s notable motor vehicle accident recoveries:
- Our client was involved in an automobile accident and suffered severe injuries, including a fractured leg and a fractured pelvis. The insurance company defending the case offered our client a low settlement, which we advised our client to decline. Our attorneys took the case to trial and the jury returned a $1,000,000 verdict in favor of our client.
- Our client struck a construction vehicle that entered a highway at night from an unmarked turnaround. The client was fatally injured from the impact of hitting the rear end of the truck as it pulled onto the highway in front of our client’s vehicle. Although the defense argued that the incident occurred in a construction zone and that the decedent should have known to watch for trucks, our attorneys were able to settle the case for $2,000,000.
- Our client was injured when the defendant-driver turned in front of her. Our client was rushed to the hospital with a bruised forehead, but her injuries did not resolve after initial treatment. It was not until our client began exhibiting memory loss and strange behavior that medical professionals were able to determine that she suffered from a dangerous closed head injury. Our team of attorneys successfully recovered $1,100,000 for our client.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP – Representing Injured Victims Since 1947
If you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision and would like to pursue a full recovery of damages, contact our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.