WASHINGTON, D.C. — Deadly traffic crashes jumped 10.5 percent in the first three months of 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported Thursday.
NHTSA estimated a total of 8,730 people died in motor vehicle crashes from January through March compared to 7,900 who died during the same period in 2020, NHTSA said. Across the Deep South, including Florida, rose 18 percent in the first quarter of 2021.
“We must address the tragic loss of life we saw on the roads in 2020 by taking a transformational and collaborative approach to safety. Everyone – including those who design, operate, build and use the road system – shares responsibility for road safety,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Acting Administrator.
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The increase in deaths came as overall driving declined by 2.1 percent during the first quarter. NHTSA said the increase in deaths raised the deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled to 1.26.
NHTSA said the estimated driving done in the first quarter of 2021, 14.9 billion miles, suggested “the driving patterns and behaviors the agency reported in 2020…continue to prevail and that drivers who remained on the roads engaged in more risky behavior, including speeding, failing to wear seat belts, and driving under the influence of alcohol.