Traffic deaths in the United States rose to 20,160 in the first half of 2021, the highest total since 2006, a new report by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals. The new figures also show an 18.4% year-on-year increase and the largest six-month increase since the NHTSA began recording fatal crash figures in 1975. Reckless driving, speeding, and travelling without seat belts, as well as an overall increase in driving after pandemic shutdowns eased, are collectively thought to be to blame for this spike. In response, the NHTSA intends to create a national strategy designed to improve safety and save lives on the roads.
Compensation after a road accident
Steven Cliff, NHTSA Deputy Administrator, advises drivers to buckle up, slow down, stay sober, and avoid distracted driving. “All of us must work together to stop aggressive, dangerous driving,” Cliff said. Unfortunately, however, in some instances, road accidents can still happen no matter how responsible a driver may be. Following a road crash, it’s important drivers file a car insurance claim to cover the cost of medical bills and property damage (specific coverage varies from state to state). In Texas, for example, a car accident insurance claim settlement involves 30/60/25 coverage. This means approved claims will pay out compensation of $30,000 to cover injuries per person, $25,000 for property damage, and up to $60,000 per accident.
Major change needed
“We cannot and should not accept these fatalities as simply a part of everyday life in America,” transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “No one will accomplish this alone. It will take all levels of government, industries, advocates, engineers and communities across the country working together toward the day when family members no longer have to say good-bye to loved ones because of a traffic crash.” Consumer groups are also pressing for urgent action. “This public safety crisis requires decisive action by the U.S. Department of Transportation, where progress on requirements and performance standards for lifesaving vehicle safety technology has been overdue for far too long,” said Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
The Transportation Department has announced plans to release its road safety strategy in January. It’s a “safe system approach” outlining safety steps for drivers, vehicles, roads, speed limits, and medical care following traffic accidents.