Auto accidents with injuries and fatalities are a consistent problem in Virginia and across the United States. This is a daily concern. In some instances, the landscape is worse than others. The most recent statistics show a worrisome increase in road fatalities for the first half of 2021. Given the challenges people can face after they or a loved one has been in a collision, it is imperative to think about the various aspects of an accident and know how to proceed.
Department of Transportation statistics show major spike in road deaths
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there was a rise of more than 18% in the number of road fatalities in 2021 when compared to the same juncture in 2020. Overall, more than 20,000 people lost their lives in those six months. This was the largest increase since 1979 when the Fatality Analysis Reporting System began tracking these numbers. A part of the spike is attributed to the simple fact that there were fewer people on the road in 2020 because of the health situation.
For the first half of 2021, the number of vehicle miles traveled rose by approximately 13%. Even though there were fewer drivers on the roads during the difficult stretch, those who did take to the roadways took various liberties. Examples are speeding and drivers who were under the influence. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that after March 2020, the number of drivers who had opioids in their system was almost twice what it was before. People driving under the influence of marijuana increased by around half. With greater speed came a harder impact and worse outcomes. What makes this even more problematic is that 2020 – despite fewer vehicles on the road – saw a 7.2% rise in fatalities even as people drive more than 13% fewer miles than the prior year.
It is important for people to know their rights after a crash
To address this problem, a National Roadway Safety Strategy is set to be released in early 2022. While that may forge solutions, the current dangers are still in place with people suffering injuries and losing their lives at a rapid pace. Those who have been hurt in auto accidents will face a dramatically different life with medical costs, treatment, rehabilitation and the possibility of long-term implications. When there is a fatality, the family left behind will need to come to grips with the unexpected loss of a loved one. To be fully prepared of all the available options, having professional advice is key to investigating the accident and determining a path forward.