When you look at the big picture involving fatal car accidents, you’ll likely notice deaths have been dropping since sometime in the early 1970s. This is when road safety started to become much more important, cars begin to evolve into safer vehicles, new laws came on the books and much more.
However, a concerning trend of late shows that fatal car accident statistics are climbing again. There were 38,824 deaths in 2020 and 42,915 deaths in 2021. These are both higher than the number of deaths in 2019. For years, America had been under 40,000 traffic deaths annually, but this trend shows that the country is back over that mark and perhaps climbing even higher. Only time will tell.
How concerned should we be?
There are two schools of thought here. First, there have been other years in which fatal accidents have started to go back up. This is usually followed by periods of decline. The overall drop from the 70s until 2019 was not a consistent downward slope. This suggests that we may simply be in another spike and the numbers will begin trending down again in the years to come.
On the other side, there is a problem because cars themselves are safer than ever before. New cars have all manner of safety systems, from backup cameras to lane departure warnings. If car accidents are still taking more and more lives every year, that’s concerning because it suggests that the safety systems are not enough.
It will be interesting to watch the data in the years to come, but just make sure you know about your legal rights if you lose a loved one in a car accident or suffer injuries yourself.